As Georgia begins to reopen, Athens-Clarke County remains committed to the health and safety of residents, visitors, businesses, and employees as the community works together to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and safely reopen.

In order to provide a set of consistent community-wide measures and guidelines, a group of Athens organizations collaborated to create the new READY, SET, GO SAFELY campaign. The campaign aims to restore consumer confidence for the purpose of economic recovery while prioritizing the health and safety of businesses, residents, and visitors alike by promoting and encouraging a set of protocols, sanitation measures, and safety guidelines.

"The people and businesses of Athens have proven once again over these last few months what makes them so special,” says Mayor Kelly Girtz. “By making deliberate and often challenging changes to their lifestyles and habits, they have helped slow the spread of COVID-19 locally. The thoughtful steps and commitments of the Ready, Set, Go Safely program will help us continue to move forward carefully into our next phase by doing so together as a community."

As part of the Ready, Set, Go Safely campaign, businesses and organizations are asked to commit to the following six guidelines:


  • Establish and follow approved protocol.
  • Monitor and follow distancing and capacity guidelines.


  • Follow CDC standards for sanitizing and disinfecting.
  • Train employees on protocol to reduce the spread.


  • Wear cloth face coverings and maintain 6 feet of distance.
  • Welcome patrons who are following guidelines.

Businesses and organizations that commit to the READY, SET, GO SAFELY components can submit a form online at to receive a window cling to demonstrate their commitment to GO SAFELY. People are encouraged to look for the READY, SET, GO SAFELY seal on storefronts and windows to confirm that a business is committed to their health and safety.

“The Ready, Set, Go Safely campaign is designed to facilitate local businesses in the development and implementation of protocols designed around keeping customers safe and healthy,” says Athens Area Chamber of Commerce President David Bradley. “By doing so in an intentional, visible fashion, we believe that we can build consumer confidence in a robust fashion. We have many collaborative partners working together to rebuild our local economy while keeping our valued customers well.”

As residents and visitors venture out to businesses and public locations, they are asked to GO SAFELY and commit to six steps:

  • Limit close contact and maintain 6 feet of distance.
  • Avoid large gatherings.
  • Wear cloth face covers in public.
  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer.
  • Clean and disinfect personal items and surfaces.
  • Respect people and guidelines.

“Hospitality is an integral part of Athens,” says The Classic Center President/CEO Paul Cramer. “The safety of our guests is our number one priority, and we’ve been diligently preparing heightened safety protocols in anticipation of reopening so that our patrons can feel confident and comfortable. The Ready, Set, Go Safely campaign really presents a unified front for Athens. I’m proud to be part of a community that bands together to a higher standard.”

The READY, SET, GO SAFELY initiative will include a community-wide campaign to promote the steps and commitments. As part of the campaign, will provide a one-stop shop for the guidelines, a toolkit of resources, links to service changes and organization updates, and much more.

Partner organizations collaborating on the READY, SET, GO SAFELY campaign include the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government, Athens Area Chamber of Commerce, Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau, Athens Downtown Development Authority, The Classic Center, The Northeast Health District and Envision Athens. Georgia Power has joined the campaign as a sponsor.


For more information about READY, SET, GO SAFELY, contact Katie Williams at the Athens Convention and Visitors Bureau at or 678.218.8121.