The longstanding and vitriolic debate over face masks as a preventative measure against COVID-19 has taken a strange, seemingly political turn in the state of Georgia as Governor Brian Kemp takes a wild and decisive action.
Kemp has been publicly feuding with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for months in regard to how best to tackle this global pandemic. Now, after Bottoms took the initiative to mandate that masks be worn in public areas of the Georgia capital, Kemp has attempted to supersede her but nullifying any and all local mask ordinances throughout the entirety of Georgia.
Kemp’s executive order issued Wednesday prevents local governments from enforcing mandatory face-covering orders that are more restrictive than the current statewide order. The move effectively voided orders issued by at least 15 local governments across the state, according to The Associated Press.
Rather than imposing a mandatory requirement, Kemp’s order states that residents and visitors in the state are “strongly encouraged to wear face coverings as practicable” when in public except when eating, drinking or exercising outdoors.
It is difficult to see this order as anything less than a political power move, especially as Kemp and others continue to tout the use of face coverings as one of the more effective tools against the spread of COVID-19.
Around the nation, private companies have largely taken on the role of mask-promoters, with Walmart, CostCo, Sam’s Club, and others mandating that masks be worn within their stores.
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