Kemp suspends Georgia's anti-mask law during coronavirus pandemic

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has suspended a state law that made it more difficult to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on masks.

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Monday, Kemp signed an executive order that suspended Georgia's anti-mask law.

The law states that it is a misdemeanor to wear "a mask, hood, or device by which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer and is upon any public way or public property or upon the private property of another without the written permission of the owner or occupier of the property to do so."

The law has some exceptions - including for theatrical productions, physical safety and gas masks for drills and emergencies - and was put in place to combat the Ku Klux Klan.

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In the midst of the pandemic, state officials have raised concerns that the law could have negative consequences, especially on the African-American community.

This was a law that was put in place to combat the KKK, but Williams says the law could have some different consequences now, especially on the African American community.

"People are using whatever they have at home, bandannas, scarves, to put across their faces. I don't want that to be misconstrued," state Sen. Nikema Williams said. "I don't want anyone to put their health and safety on the line from wearing a mask because they don't want to be profiled in a grocery store or they're picking up medicine at a pharmacy." 

LINK: Know how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting Georgia

Kemp agreed, saying at a press conference he signed the order so people could follow the guidelines "without fear of prosecution."

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