Georgia Governor Brian Kemp issued a new executive order preventing local governments from enforcing mandatory masks orders. Kemp issued the order on Wednesday.
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Kemp initially encouraged residents to wear masks in public. However, he did not make it mandatory. The Governor’s stance is that local governments should not make stricter regulations than the state. He says that local mask mandates are “a bridge too far,” Fox News reports.
Kemp’s 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.”
The governor also announced on Wednesday plans to extend a portion of the executive order until July 31. The extension bans gatherings of more than 50 people. It also renews regulations for business operations in addition to ordering nursing home residents and people with medical conditions to shelter in place.
The executive order was met with some criticisms and defiance from other Georgia politicians. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson took to Twitter to express voice his dissatisfaction. “It is officially official. Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us,” Johnson tweeted. “Every man and woman for himself/herself. Ignore the science and survive the best you can.”
Furthermore, Johnson defied Brian Kemp and ordered Savannah residents to wear masks. Cities including Atlanta, Augusta, and Athens then did the same.
The state of Georgia reported 3,871 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and 37 deaths on Wednesday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Wednesday’s total number of confirmed cases ranked second-highest.
[H/T Fox News]