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Atlanta mayor extends COVID-19 emergency order, mask mandate

In one of his first acts as mayor, Andre Dickens continued his predecessors COVID policies.

ATLANTA — Mayor Andre Dickens is tackling the coronavirus pandemic in his first two executive orders signed as Atlanta's new leader.

On Jan. 3, the mayor signed off on continuing to require people older than nine to wear a mask at all indoor public places. People must wear face coverings inside private businesses as well, according to the text.

Consequences for violating the city's mask mandate also remain. People will be allowed a warning after violating the policy and then can be fined around $25 on the first offense and no more than $50 on any violation after, the order reads.

Dickens has also called on various housing authorities within the city limits to implement a temporary moratorium on evictions.

The Atlanta Housing Authority, Atlanta Beltline Inc., Fulton County/City of Atlanta Land Bank Authority, Invest Atlanta, Partners for Home, and the City of Atlanta's Department of Grants and Community Development are instructed to not allow the issuance of notices of termination, initiate evictions, or impose late fees or charges until the emergency declaration is lifted, according to the mayor's order.

One of the two executive orders signed by Dickens also continues Atlanta's internal vaccination incentive program for city employees through June 30. The program offers $100 to those who get vaccinated against the virus, including booster shots, according to the order.

The orders come as Georgia grapples with the coronavirus pandemic and more recently the COVID-19 omicron variant. 

On Tuesday, the state reported nearly 56,000 new COVID cases after the Georgia Department of Health was bogged down Monday by a surge in virus reports. The state is also seeing nearly 1,000 new virus-related hospitalizations since its last report on Friday.