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The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday barred the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from enforcing a federal requirement that employers with 100 or more people ensure that their workers are vaccinated or undergo weekly testing. This leaves thousands of Georgia employers to make their own decisions about whether to require COVID-19 vaccinations or testing for their employees. As a result, local workers are likely to continue to face workplaces with widely varying standards. But the ruling doesn’t prevent employers from dictating vaccinations on their own. Also, the high court allowed the Biden administration to continue a vaccine mandate for most health care workers. Legal appeals are underway on another mandate tied to companies that are federal contractors. Many employers say they want their employees to be vaccinated to hopefully keep them safe, reduce risk to co-workers and avoid business disruptions. Some would rather the federal government be responsible — and the blame — for the mandates.

The Georgia Department of Public Health in partnership with Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Fulton County Government, the Fulton County Board of Health, the Atlanta-Fulton County Emergency-Management Agency and Viral Solutions announce the opening of a new testing mega-site at The Home Depot Backyard beginning Friday, January 14. The Home Depot Backyard at Mercedes-Benz Stadium is located at 1 Backyard Way, Atlanta, GA 30313. The drive-up testing site at the 11-acre park is expected to serve up to 2,000 residents daily.  Beginning January 14, hours of operation will be Wednesday – Monday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily (until further notice). The site will be closed on Tuesdays.  These PCR tests are free to all Georgians, but insurance will be billed if available. Appointments are strongly encouraged.  To register online and to make an appointment, please log on to https://viralsolutionsga.com/register .

The Georgia Department of Public Health announced Friday night that two metro COVID-19 mega-testing sites are opening. A Cobb County site is at Jim Miller Park (Gate 1) at 1295 Al Bishop Drive in Marietta. A DeKalb County site is at 2994 Turner Hill Road in Stonecrest. These new sites come as the shortage of access to at-home tests continues and the omicron variant spreads. Appointments are strongly encouraged and can be made online at https://viralsolutionsga.com/register.

Johns Creek high school students have produced four short documentary films that explore the city’s historic Black cemetery. The films produced by Student Leadership Johns Creek and featuring Macedonia African Methodist Church Cemetery will be screened on Jan. 27 at Johns Creek High School and Mercer University in Atlanta on Feb. 18.

Gov. Brian Kemp is prepared to spread around the surplus Georgia is sitting on, including a $3.7 billion surplus from the past fiscal year. That includes refunds to state taxpayers totaling $1.6 billion. The refunds would be portioned out $250 at a time to single filers, with joint filers receiving $500. The refunds would be one of the bigger cash outlays that Kemp has proposed in these early days of a legislative session and election year.

Comedian-actor Tiffany Haddish was arrested early Friday in Peachtree City after she was reportedly spotted asleep behind the wheel.  Police charged the 42-year-old “She Ready” comic with DUI and improper stopping on a roadway. According to an arrest report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, police suspected Haddish of being under the influence of marijuana. She was booked into the Fayette County Jail in Fayetteville and released after she posted a $1,666 bond. According to media reports, Haddish was in metro Atlanta filming “Haunted Mansion,” Disney’s re-adaptation of a 2003 horror-comedy that’s set to be released later this year.

Atlanta-based Porsche Cars North America, Inc. recently announced the promotion of two women at the company. Ayesha Coker has been named vice president of marketing. She is the second new appointment to the company’s nine-member executive leadership team in recent months following Margareta Mahlstedt becoming vice president of customer experience. Coker was previously the director of experiential marketing for Porsche and succeeds Pedro Mota. Coker has led the German automaker’s experiential brand marketing, strategic partnerships, sports marketing, motorsport, and the Porsche Club of America.

Choomba, one of the founding members of Zoo Atlanta’s gorilla population, has died. She was 59. The Western lowland gorilla was the second oldest at the zoo and the fourth oldest gorilla in the world. More than a dozen gorillas at Zoo Atlanta were diagnosed with COVID-19. The zoo said Thursday the animal care and veterinary teams had been monitoring Choomba this week after noticing a “marked decline in her physical condition due to advanced arthritis and other age-related complications,” the zoo announced. “Given her poor prognosis and with concern for her comfort and quality of life, the teams made the extremely difficult decision to euthanize her on January 13th.”

Walmart is recalling beef including the following:  

  • 1-pound All Natural Ground Beef 90% lean, 10% fat. Use or freeze by Jan. 11, 2022.
  • 1-pound All Natural Ground Beef 93% lean, 7% fat. Use or freeze by Jan. 11, 2022.
  • 3-pound All Natural Ground Beef 93% lean, 7% fat. Use or freeze by Jan. 11, 2022.

Dole Fresh Vegetables has announced a recall of packaged salads and salad kits containing iceberg lettuce from its U.S. production facilities in Soledad, Calif., and Springfield, Ohio. Dole initiated the recall after equipment used to harvest the lettuce tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes. The products were sold under the Dole and various private-label brands—HEB, Kroger, Little Salad Bar, Marketside, and President’s Choice—and were shipped to stores in 37 states. Identify the salads involved in the recall by checking the product code on the upper-right-hand corner on the front of the package. The products will either start with a W and have a “best if used by” date between Dec. 22, 2021, and Jan. 9, 2022, or start with a B and have a “best if used by” date between Dec. 23, 2021, and Jan. 8, 2022. (See the full list of products.)

Have a great week…


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