(AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Whether going to a restaurant or window-shopping downtown, people will be required to wear face masks in Athens as of 8 a.m. Thursday morning, after it gets signed by the mayor. 

The Athens-Clarke County commission unanimously approved an ordinance on Tuesday night that makes masks mandatory in public spaces. 

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Facing an uproar from professors, the state system overseeing Georgia universities abruptly changed course on face masks late Monday, mandating students at public universities wear masks in classrooms due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Grant Blankenship / GPB News

As demonstrations continue nationwide over police brutality and systemic racism, many are calling for monuments honoring the Confederacy to come down. The monuments have become flashpoints for protesters and targets for vandals. 


But current Georgia law prohibits moving the monuments in most cases. That creates a challenge for cities across the state. 


In Athens, the county commission was set to vote Thursday on whether to move a Confederate monument away from downtown.

Micah Johnston

The coronavirus pandemic means more people are spending time at home, and for some, more boredom. To fight that, many are picking up new hobbies, including one you might not expect: raising backyard chickens.

“We’ve been raising our own chickens for over a year now,” says Lacey Resch, a Macon resident. “One day he (my husband) came home with a little box, and said ‘Look what followed me home,’ and it was baby chicks!”

Sofi Gratas

On the steps of Athens-Clarke County City Hall on Tuesday evening, protesters clashed. A plan proposed by two local commissioners to re-envision and redistribute funds within the Athens-Clarke County Police Department has brought heated responses from citizens, both in favor and in opposition of these changes.

Sofi Gratas

After testing positive for coronavirus, Athens-Clarke County District 2 Commissioner Mariah Parker will not be attending any protests until her two-week quarantine is up. Parker was one of the organizers of a march on Sunday, May 31, that attracted over a thousand people to downtown Athens.

Data: Georgia Department of Public Health

The Daybreak Center in Macon is an oasis for the homeless community with laundry, meals, showers and computers.  And also, healthcare.


Sofi Gratas

The majority of Athens-Clarke County residents have expressed outrage at the use of force used against protesters on Sunday night.

The demonstrations remained peaceful until around 11:50 p.m., when a drone flew over the crowd threatening arrest of the remaining protesters for “unlawful assembly.” This came after a 9 p.m. curfew was set, though people weren’t notified until around 9:45 p.m.

Sofi Gratas

Social distancing has meant a pause on social drinking, a major piece of the service economy in Athens. However, the majority of late-night spots in town have decided to keep their doors shut even after being given the greenlight to ease coronavirus restrictions and reopen.

Wikimedia jenaragon94 (Flickr)

It’s hard to imagine SEC football stadiums at full capacity this fall as the coronavirus pandemic breeds uncertainty about the future of large gatherings. Sports fans and college athletes are bracing for the heartbreak of potentially not having a season when classes resume later this year.

Towns County High School/Facebook

When Shelby Turner left Towns County High School in March, she thought Georgia’s school shutdown wouldn’t last too long. However, as the school year progressed, it became clear that the coronavirus pandemic would upend the entirety of her senior year.

“I went to my last day of high school and didn’t even know,” Turner said. “That was just so scary. I didn’t even tell my teachers bye. I just left like it was a normal day — I just wish I could’ve gone back at least one more week.” 

Some college athletes will be able to return to campus next month.

According to Yahoo Sports, the NCAA council voted on Wednesday to allow football players and men's and women's basketball players to train at school facilities, beginning June 1.

School presidents in the Southeastern Conference are expected to approve the decision in a teleconference on Friday.

2020 Graduates Doing Things Differently During A Pandemic

May 21, 2020
Josephine Bennett

Many 2020 graduates have been forced to forego the usual celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

They won't take the traditional walk across the stage or move the tassels on their graduation caps from one side to the other in front of a cheering crowd because such gatherings are deemed unsafe and could spread COVID-19.


University of Georgia students could physically return to campus this fall. The school’s president, Jere Morehead, outlined steps to reopening in an email to the UGA community.

Hugh Acheson

All Things Considered on Georgia Public Broadcasting is bringing you audio postcards sent by people reflecting on how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting their lives. We've heard from actors, activists, and CEOs.

From the safety of their homes where they're sheltering in place, they're recording themselves on their phones or computers and emailing the audio to host Rickey Bevington.

Athens Chef Hugh Acheson, who closed his restaurants 5&10, Empire State South and By George, sends this postcard about why he's finding a way to feed thousands of hungry Georgians.  


  • Coronavirus Deaths In Georgia Rises To 881
  • Governor Kemp Releases New Guidelines For Reopening
  • Some Georgia Businesses Prepare To Open, Despite Caution From Health Experts

CJ Swank / Sam Grindstaff

Among the small businesses shuttered by shelter-in-place orders are two of Georgia’s historic art-house theaters. How are these independent cinemas surviving, and innovating, now that their screens have gone dark?

Christopher Escobar, owner of Atlanta’s Plaza Theatre and executive director of the Atlanta Film Society, said that business had already been slowing down for about two weeks prior to their closing. And Pamela Kohn, executive director of Ciné in Athens, said their decision to shut down the theater was difficult, but necessary.

In medical situations, it weighs heavily on doctors and nurses when they are unable to save a life. So, what happens when the decision is not what treatment to give, but who gets treatment at all?


Associate Director of the Emory University Center for Ethics and Director of the Center's Program in Health Sciences and Ethics Kathy Kinlaw and Assistant Professor of Bioethics at New York University’s Langone Health Brendan Parent explain the ethical considerations of triage decisions — and the emotional impact they can have on medical staff.



Teachers in Georgia are firing up laptops and turning their homes into virtual classrooms as schools statewide remain closed amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

There are challenges with digital learning for both children and parents still adjusting to this new reality. 

Facebook/Mayor Girtz

Gov. Brian Kemp announced new statewide restrictions to help slow the spread of the coronavirus Monday.

The order closes bars and nightclubs, bans most gatherings of 10 or more people and requires vulnerable Georgians to stay at home.

iServe Ministries prepares to give out 30,000 pounds of food through its mobile food pantry to families in need.
Blis Savidge / GPB News

Families trickled into an empty parking lot Saturday morning in Commerce hoping to pick up free food. Before the sun had even come up, more than 100 families had gathered. Christian rap music blared from speakers set on a makeshift stage as attendees settled in and prepard to wait their turn. Some wore masks or pulled jackets up to cover their mouths and noses, in response to coronavirus fears, while others seemed unconcerned. 

Blis Savidge / GPB News

The University of Georgia is collaborating with Rhode Island based company EpiVax to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

Director of the Center of Vaccine and Immunology Dr. Ted Ross will head up the project at his lab in Athens. He and his team have received the COVID-19 virus and are ready to begin their work in a high-security containment facility to produce and test a possible vaccine.

Gov. Brian Kemp declares public health emergency at a press conference on March 14.
GPB News

The declaration is the first in Georgia history and comes after the largest increase of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a 24-hour period to date. Cases doubled overnight, Gov. Brian Kemp said Saturday.

The number of confirmed cases of Coronavirus has risen to 66, with one death. Stay up to date with the latest numbers here.

A person checks their temperature.
Polina Tankilevitch

Gov. Brian Kemp has announced the construction of a second quarantine space for patients who test positive for COVID-19 and are unable self-isolate.

The facility will be located at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center Campus in Monroe County and will be able to accommodate 20 temporary housing units, according to a press release from the governor's office.

Students go about their daily business during spring break at Georgia Tech.
Blis Savidge / GPB News

The University System of Georgia announced a suspension of classes for two weeks at all institutions effective Monday, March 16.

The announcement comes shortly after Gov. Brian Kemp announced Georgia's first death related to COVID-19.

Heather Kennedy / Flickr

Georgia is just over a week into early voting for the presidential preference primary.

Tens of thousands of Georgians have cast their votes on a new touchscreen machine that prints out a paper ballot.

Meanwhile, Athens-Clarke County is being investigated after choosing to ditch the machines and make choices using pen and paper.

Government and community leaders are working to avoid an undercount of rural and minority communities in the 2020 census.
Robert Jimison / GPB

Of the more than 10 million people who live in Georgia, about 1.6 million residents live in areas of the state that do not have broadband internet. This creates a problem for these communities as the U.S. Census Bureau prepares for the 2020 census that will primarily be conducted online.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Republican finance executive Kelly Loeffler took the oath of office and was sworn in Monday as the newest member of the United States Senate representing Georgia. Her appointment to the upper chamber of Congress follows the early retirement of three-term Sen. Johnny Isakson. 

The 2020 U.S. Census will be offered in three formats: online, over the phone, or by mail.
Ross Terrell / GPB News

The end of another decade means the census, the national population count that happens once every 10 years. It takes place in 2020. The decennial count gives us a snapshot of who lives in the United States and how things might have changed since 2010. 

Numbers from the 2020 census will also be used to determine how and where billions of federal dollars for states, counties and local communities are spent. 

Comedian Judah Friedlander is probably best known for his role as Frank Rossitano on NBC’s 30 Rock, but his new stand-up series Judah Friedlander: Future President takes a satirical look at America and its complicated place on the world stage. He performed in Atlanta a few weeks ago and joins On Second Thought to share his approach to stand-up.