EKAM WORLD PEACE FESTIVAL

As Coronavirus Cases Surge, Georgia Gov. Sues to Stop Atlanta Mayor From Requiring Masks in Public

Posted by on July 18, 2020 in Agencies & Systems, Government, Politics with 0 Comments

L: Georgia Governor Brian Kemp on Jan. 26, 2019. U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Tori Miller. R: Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on March 27, 2019. Netherlands Embassy / CC BY 2.0

By Olivia Rosane | EcoWatch

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sued the Atlanta City Council and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms Thursday to block a city-wide order requiring face masks in public, in the latest example of how public health has been politicized as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the U.S.

Kemp argued that the Atlanta rule is not “legally enforceable” because he signed an executive order prohibiting municipalities from enacting stricter requirements than the state, CNN reported. On Wednesday, he signed an executive order suspending all local mask mandates.

“It is officially official. Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us,” Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, whose city also requires masks, tweeted in response to Wednesday's order. “Every man and woman for himself/herself. Ignore the science and survive the best you can.”

Kemp's justifications for the lawsuit were largely economic. In the text of the lawsuit itself, Kemp argued that Atlanta's mask rule created uncertainty for people and businesses and would cause people to “suffer immediate and irreparable harm,” CBS News reported. He said some Atlanta restaurants had closed because they thought it was necessary to escape enforcement measures.

“This lawsuit is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times,” he tweeted Thursday. “These men and women are doing their very best to put food on the table for their families while local elected officials shutter businesses and undermine economic growth.”

Bottoms, meanwhile, who has herself tested positive for the virus, defended her order on public health grounds.

“Public health experts overwhelmingly agree that wearing a face covering helps slow the spread of this sometimes deadly virus,” she said during a press conference Thursday, as NPR reported. “It's a simple thing to do.”

She also responded to the lawsuit on Twitter, noting that 3,104 Georgians had died of the virus so far and 106,000 had tested positive.

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