ATLANTA - Governor Brian Kemp is overruling local governments that have issued mandatory mask laws in a new executive order issued Wednesday.
The 41-page order is mostly a revised extension of guidelines the governor had put in place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic with the addition of the new language regarding mask mandates.
The executive order reads in part:
“State, county, or municipal law, order, ordinance, rule, or regulation that requires persons to wear face coverings, masks, face shields, or any other Personal Protective Equipment while in places of public accommodation or on public property are suspended to the extent that they are more restrictive than this Executive Order.”
Last Wednesday, the governor called out Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom’s executive order calling for masks to be worn. In a statement, he called the mayor’s mask mandate "unenforceable" and urged her to enforce current provisions of the governor's orders strongly encouraging, but not requiring face coverings.
“Like all of the local mask mandates, Mayor Bottoms’ order is unenforceable. We continue to encourage Georgians to do the right thing and wear a mask voluntarily. If the Mayor wants to flatten the curve in Atlanta, she should start enforcing the current provisions of the Governor’s orders," the statement read.
The governor did not specify what provision the city was not enforcing.
Bottoms signed an executive order last Wednesday evening mandating the use of masks throughout the city. The governor has already clashed with the mayor recently over policing issues, calling out the Georgia National Guard to protect state government offices after an 8-year-old girl was fatally shot by armed people at the site of a fast-food restaurant where an Atlanta police officer shot and killed a Black man.
The order requires anyone within city limits and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, to wear a mask or a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth, except those with a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a face mask or are under the age of 10.
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The mayor later pulled the city back into Phase One of the reopening plan for Atlanta.
A handful of other cities have enacted mandatory mask laws.
The governor’s executive order expires on July 31.
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