The Buckhead Community’s Response to COVID-19
By Jim Durrett, executive director, Buckhead CID
We are living in unprecedented and unpredictable times as the COVID-19 virus continues to make its rounds in our city and throughout the world. On April 8, Governor Kemp extended the current shelter in place order for the State of Georgia until April 30, and it’s fair to assume that more updates will be coming based on the President’s desire to re-open the country. As relief efforts continue to increase, Buckhead’s response to the pandemic has been nothing short of fantastic. Multiple businesses have heeded the call of the community and are providing crucial services to those in need.
Buckhead restaurants have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to stop the spread of the virus and adapt to these new circumstances, restaurants suspended dine-in services and ramped up their takeout and delivery options. While other apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash are convenient options, consider calling your favorite business before ordering as many restaurants are reassigning their wait staff to accommodate these new circumstances and to keep them employed. Click here for a list of some of the Buckhead restaurants offering takeout and delivery options.
Responding to the overwhelming need for medical resources, on April 13, Piedmont Healthcare opened a portion of its 16-story Marcus Tower addition on Peachtree Road, a full four months earlier than originally planned. The tower added another 132 hospital beds, including 64 ICU beds, which are equipped to house both COVID-19 patients and non-COVID-19 patients. By opening this section of the tower early, Piedmont is now able to provide critical care in Buckhead when the community needs it most.
The Shepherd Center, located on Peachtree Road, is a non-profit hospital specializing in spinal cord and brain injuries, chronic pain and other conditions. Amidst changing resources and moving all non-essential employees to remote locations, the Center was quick to adapt to provide patients with quality care. While the situation is far from normal, employees are working tirelessly to keep patients in high spirits, including preparing a socially distant high school graduation ceremony for one patient.
During the pandemic, the local community can contribute to the Center’s efforts of providing exceptional care to patients and their caregivers, as well as staff and employees. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) remains the highest need, including masks, gloves, etc. You can also donate grocery store gift cards or even personal notes to staff or patients. For more information on how you can help, visit the Center’s website.
ASW Distillery on Armour Drive has transformed its operations to produce hand sanitizer for emergency first responders. The company has mobilized to create 80% alcohol, FDA-approved hand sanitizer, implementing its Give One, Get One campaign. For every bottle sold, they are donating an equivalent amount to a hospital, non-profit or other organization in need. The distillery has already donated to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Hall County Schools meal delivery program, Open Hand’s Atlanta’s meal delivery service to vulnerable populations in the community and multiple hospitals across the state. To order a bottle for yourself, visit the ASW Distillery website.
The CID’s projects have also continued construction during this time, following the advice of local and state officials. The ADA sidewalk improvements project, which will replace approximately 4.5 miles of sidewalk and add ADA features such as handicap-accessible ramps, began its next phase on Pharr Road. We have also begun to install seasonal landscaping in roadway medians on Peachtree Road this month, which will perhaps brighten your daily commute post-quarantine.
While the threat of COVID-19 continues to work its way through metro Atlanta, it brings a sense of comfort knowing that the Buckhead community is at the forefront of fighting the virus and providing critical resources to the local community. We hope that as the country slowly and safely re-opens that you will remember to stay safe and follow guidelines set forth by the CDC and other global healthcare experts.