ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- It didn’t take long for crowds to gather around metro Atlanta, just days after the shelter in place order expired.
Keitra Bates wore a mask to Piedmont Park and was surprised most people did not.
“I don’t think people are taking it very seriously,” Bates said. “I think people are probably stir crazy. I mean I have a group of people who are stir crazy and they want to get out and they want their life to go back to normal, but I don’t think we know what normal is anymore.”
And it's not just an issue at local parks. A huge crowd gathered in the Mall West End parking lot Saturday night to watch cars do burn outs. We also spotted a long line of people waiting to buy the new Air Jordan shoes at Greenbriar Mall. Plus, there were large crowds gathered around metro Atlanta to watch the Blue Angels fly over, and Piedmont Park has also been packed with people in clusters.
“It wouldn’t hurt for people to at least respect the social distance of six feet thing,” Atlanta resident Kevin Smith said.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms responded to the issue on Facebook saying, “For those who crowded in line at Greenbriar awaiting the new Jordan’s, gathered in crowds at Piedmont Park, shot fireworks and spun out at the Mall West End, and even those who may now be shopping at Lenox Square Mall, please know that the only thing that’s changed about COVID-19 is that your chance of catching it has now gone up by 40%.
“I think it’s going to take the people because we keep getting mixed messages. I think if you want to keep healthy and your family and friends you’ve got to social distance and don’t run to many errands,” Atlanta resident Valerie Stern said.
Mayor Bottoms referenced a Forbes article when saying your exposure to COVID-19 has gone up by 40%. A statement from a spokesperson at the Mayor's office reads:
"While the Mayor is disappointed to see a few isolated incidents of gatherings which seemingly do not adhere to social distancing guidelines, through APD’s regular patrols, we have been able to inform those who are not in compliance of the guidelines—and most have cooperated and disbanded.
The Mayor and her senior leadership continue to explore administrative and legal options within the City’s authority and will adjust policies—if necessary—accordingly based on the counsel of medical professionals and members of her Advisory Council to reopen Atlanta."
As for Governor Kemp, his office signed an Executive order deputizing local law enforcement with enforcement capabilities when people aren't following safety guidelines. They also said Dr. Toomey with the Georgia Department of Public Health is urging everyone to wear masks.