(NewsBreakDaily.org) – Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) does believe that face coverings help to slow the spread of COVID-19. But he doesn’t believe in mask mandates.
On July 17, Kemp urged Georgians to wear their masks, but he stood firm on blocking local authorities from mandating it.
With coronavirus cases surging in the state, many local jurisdictions passed laws requiring residents to wear face coverings. But on Thursday, the Republican governor filed a lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) for overstepping her authority with the mask requirement.
The lawsuit says the governor must be allowed to manage the public health emergency in his state without the interference from Mayor Bottoms. It takes issue with the unenforceable orders, which they say only confuses the public.
On Wednesday, Kemp issued an executive order blocking the mandates in Atlanta and 14 other local jurisdictions. But on Thursday, several of the mayors, including Bottoms, said they would ignore Kemp’s order and continue to enforce the mask requirements, forcing him to file the suit.
To make issues even more confusing for Georgians, on Thursday, Bottoms said Atlanta’s mandate was still in effect.
On Friday, the governor said everyone is in agreement on the effectiveness of masks. But he argued that residents “don’t need a mandate to do the right thing.” He urged residents to wear face coverings for the next four weeks and encouraged social distancing and hand washing.
Georgia COVID Cases Are Spiking
As of July 16, Georgia had more than 3,100 coronavirus deaths, with over 131,000 confirmed cases. This week, there were more than 2,800 residents hospitalized with the illness — the highest on record. Currently, 84% of the critical hospital beds in the state are filled.
The situation is serious, but the governor still believes the mask mandates are “disastrous policies” that could “shutter businesses and undermine economic growth.”
Wear the Mask or Don’t Wear the Mask?
This conflict in Georgia is playing out while the country as a whole is grappling with whether or not to wear masks. Part of the confusion is because authorities have sent mixed messages on face coverings. Earlier this year, experts, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that masks weren’t effective. Now they’re saying differently.
The whole issue has also become very politicized. President Trump and his supporters have been hesitant about accepting them, because the doctors keep changing their minds on the subject.
Do the Dems Have a Political Motivation?
To add to the confusion is the idea that Democrats believe keeping the country shut down will help their election chances. They seem perfectly fine with keeping people in their homes and the economy locked down until after November’s presidential election.
Last week, Mayor Bottoms told Atlanta residents they had to return to sheltering at home. She closed restaurants and limited them to takeout and delivery only. The Democrat says she’s only offering guidelines. But Kemp’s lawsuit puts a stop to all of it.
There’s currently no national rule on wearing masks. But 26 states and Washington D.C. now require them.
Kemp is standing virtually alone in the South right now with his lawsuit. Other Republican governors in Florida, South Carolina, and Tennessee have all resisted statewide mandates. However, they’re allowing local jurisdictions to put them into place. Red states like Alabama, Texas, and Arkansas have already issued statewide requirements.
Several business groups are supporting Kemp, though. On Thursday, Kelly Bremer, the executive director of the Georgia Restaurant Association, said the state’s diversity and size make the mandate inappropriate. She also said local rules only serve to confuse businesses who should be able to make their own decisions about requiring their customers to wear masks.
Ultimately the courts will decide if Georgians have to wear masks. In the meantime, Kemp hopes that people will do the right thing.
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