The great debate over whether or not to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 continues this week, exacerbated by the unfortunately sharp rise in coronavirus cases here in the US.
States such as Florida and Texas are beginning to bear the brunt of the illness, with the Miami area now officially the epicenter of the global pandemic. When these cases surge, so, too will cases around the nation, as these cities serve as incubators for the deadly and highly contagious disease.
In Georgia, one of the first states to allow some businesses to reopen, this second wave has been met with a bevy of local mask ordinances – most notably in Savannah and Atlanta. Now, Governor Brian Kemp is suing the Mayor of Atlanta over the issue, demanding that she adhere only to the state guidelines.
The lawsuit, filed by Kemp and Georgia Attorney General Christopher Carr, accuses Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) of operating outside her authority by requiring people to wear masks. Fifteen local governments across the state issued similar orders regarding face coverings. On Wednesday, Kemp voided and banned those governments from ordering individuals to wear masks in public.
Kemp’s lawsuit seems to be part of an effort to win his longstanding feud with Bottoms, however, as the Governor has both refused to sue the city of Savannah over their mask ordinance, and is himself pushing for Georgians to wear masks.
However, a Kemp spokesperson, Candice Broce, maintains that the governor still encourages people to wear face coverings.
“Previous executive orders – and now this order – state no local action can be more or less restrictive than ours. We have explained that local mask mandates are unenforceable. The Governor continues to strongly encourage Georgians to wear masks in public,” she tweeted.
Bottoms fired back on Twitter, stating that Kemp would do well to spend taxpayer money on virus prevention rather than on the lawsuit.
Become an insider!
Sign up for our free email newsletter, and we'll make sure to keep you in the loop.