Report: Georgia Governor Bans Cities From Mandating Masks

OPINION | This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.

Cities across the country are taking different approaches to respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Some cities are seeing spikes in the numbers of tests and cases and have required the use of face masks when people venture into public areas. Other cities are looking to reopen their restaurants, bars, malls, and entertainment venues and do not require the use of face masks.

The entire state of Georgia, however, is on one-page on the issue of requiring mask.

Fox News reports Governor Brian Kemp barred his city officials from requiring the use of face masks in a new executive order.

Kemp said city officials requiring a mask is “a bridge too far,” especially when the mandates are more restrictive than ones coming from his office.

“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 order reads.

Fox News adds:

His orders had banned local governments from taking more restrictive steps than the state, but the new set of rules specify that cities and counties can’t require the use face coverings, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Previous executive orders – and now this order – state no local action can be more or less restrictive than ours,” said Candice Broce, Communications Director, and Chief Deputy Executive Counsel for the governor. “We have explained that local mask mandates are unenforceable. The Governor continues to strongly encourage Georgians to wear masks in public.”

The order came after more liberal cities dissented on the governor’s more lax approach to handling the coronavirus.

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Kemp has allowed his residents more liberty in how they choose to live, advising them on health safety guidelines and trusting them to be safe.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, however, took a more authoritarian approach, requiring the use of face masks.

“Cities like Atlanta, Athens, and Augusta soon followed suit. The mayor had said police would start writing $500 citations to businesses that didn’t enforce the law,” Fox News adds.

Van Johnson quickly lashed out at the Georgia governor over the new order.

“Every man and woman for himself/herself. Ignore the science and survive the best you can,” the mayor tweeted.

He added: “In #Savannah, we will continue to keep the faith and follow the science. Masks will continue to be available!”