Georgia’s Department of Labor is calling on state officials to give it an exemption from budget cuts because of the flood of unemployment claims it is handling.
Gov. Brian kemp is asking all state agencies to cut 14% from their budgets for the fiscal year that begins July 1, but unemployment numbers are expected to remain high due to the pandemic. Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says his agency is already swamped with processing the onslaught of claims, and telling his workers now they may soon be out of work themselves is bad for morale.
“We don’t want to get to the end of this months down the road and tell the hard-working women and men in the department of labor… great job you’ve done there… but all their federal money is gone., and I have to let some of you go,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a good reward.”
Butler said his department is funded in part by employers paying into the unemployment insurance system. So any cuts he’s forced to make would subsidize other state agencies funded through regular taxes.
Fulton County Jail Is Using Thermal Cams
The Fulton County Jail is now using thermal imaging cameras to temperature check all staff and visitors who may show COVID-19 symptoms.
A jail spokeswoman told WABE the new devices were installed Thursday and are located at the entrances of the main jail and the South Jail Annex in Union City.
Officials say since these cameras will phase-out the touchless thermometers that required closer contact for forehead scans.
Bike Share Program Leaving metro Atlanta
One bike share program is leaving metro Atlanta and several other areas, including Alpharetta and Smyrna, because of a downturn in business during the pandemic.
The bike rental company Zagster says it will start to remove its bike stations this week.
But other bike rideshare companies, like Relay, are still letting crowds rent the bikes around metro Atlanta without sanitation practices in place.
The company hasn’t announced any changes to how it will operate or sanitize the bikes after each use.
Red Cross Still Needs Blood
Georgia’s chapter of the American Red Cross says it is in need of blood.
That’s because metro Atlanta hospitals are resuming surgeries put on-hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The demand for blood jumped 30% in recent weeks nationwide. Donated blood has a limited shelf life, and must be constantly replenished.
That comes as metro Atlanta’s largest hospital systems, like Wellstar, are easing back into some elective surgeries.
Red Cross officials say all drive and donation centers now require COVID-19 precautions like temperature checks, and everyone has to wear face masks.
The Red Cross also plans on rewarding Georgians donating during the month of June with a $5 Amazon gift card.