Mayor Bottoms Signs Executive Order Mandating Public Mask-Wearing In Defiance of Gov. Kemp

It seems unlikely that Kemp's office will block the new ordinance as the Governor has allowed similar mandates to go unchallenged in Athens, East Point, and Savannah.
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Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms on Wednesday evening signed an Executive Order mandating that residents wear masks in public joining Athens, East Point, and Savannah in defying Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp who is only “urging”Georgians to wear face coverings rather than requiring it. The Order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people in the City.

 “We will continue to take active measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 infections in Atlanta,” Mayor Bottoms said in a press release after the order was signed. “Public health experts overwhelmingly agree that wearing a face-covering helps slow the spread of this sometimes deadly virus.”

The C.D.C. recommends “that people wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people outside of their household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.”

The City of Atlanta plans to provide face coverings to the general public through funding under the CARES Act. The face coverings will be available at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, City of Atlanta homeless partners’ facilities and shelters, and food pick-up locations.  Atlanta Fire and Rescue will also work with community partners on the distribution of face coverings to Atlanta residents.

Kemp’s emergency powers superseded that of local municipalities but it seems unlikely that the Governor will block or challenge the Mayor’s order based on comments he made Tuesday.

“I realize that many on this call have different opinions on the appropriate response to this pandemic, and that’s fine,” Kemp said in a conference call Tuesday with officials of local municipalities. “But we all agree that masks are good and can help stop the spread. We all know that social distancing makes it hard for the virus to travel. We agree that handwashing can limit exposure. So instead of mandates, I’m asking you to join me in raising awareness.”

Under the Executive Order, “all persons within the jurisdiction of the City of Atlanta shall wear a mask or a cloth face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public, or when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain appropriate social distancing from another person not in the same household.”

There are some exceptions to who has to wear masks under this mandate: any person younger than ten; any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents the wearing or a mask or face covering; any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is smoking; any person while the person is in a personal motor vehicle; any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the mask or face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face or head, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal; any person while the person is in a swimming pool; any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or actively administering an election; any person while the person is speaking for a broadcast or to an audience.

There isn’t currently a penalty for violating the order, the Mayor’s office confirmed in an email to What Now Atlanta.

“I specifically asked our governor about allowing Atlanta to go forward with mandating masks in our city, he refused,” Bottoms told MSNBC Wednesday morning ahead of signing the mandate. “Other cities have taken the approach that they are going to defy the governor’s executive order and Savannah has done it, some other cities have done it and Atlanta is going to do it today.”

The order arrives a few days after Bottoms announced both she and her husband tested positive for COVID-19.

Click here to read the Executive Order in its entirety.


[Editor’s note: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]

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I.P.30307since1987!
29 days ago

I walked past a smoker today who didn’t make any effort to social distance.
Smoking is about the only time that you can see what someone really blows out.

Shawn
29 days ago

Why do you perpetuate “defiance”? It’s only a suggestion,
Not a mandate….

Elmer
28 days ago

I don’t understand the “Defiance” in this. Kemp does not mandate masks statewide but does urge that we use them. Mayor goes further and demands everyone use them in City of Atl. Somehow this becomes some sort of bold DEFIANCE. Kemp believes everyone in the state, especially rural areas can decide this for themselves. Maybe it needs to be a requirement in a dense city, don’t know. It is now some type of defiant rebellion against the evil despotic governor.

Angela Parke
28 days ago

as a nurse in hospital setting- this VIRUS is dangerous was HELL ! If you are not ignorant – wear a MASK ! its really NOT that difficult of a concept !

Taylor
28 days ago
Reply to  Angela Parke

The flu is dangerous as hell also. If your immune system is compromised already then a virus that crystallizes in the lungs will surely harm you since you are already sick. Not wearing a mask does not make you ignorant. It should be your choice based on the FACT that the mask does not STOP one from getting a virus. Slows down is entirely different from stopping. You as a nurse should know that.

cwl
27 days ago
Reply to  Taylor

nowhere in her comment does she says it stops the virus. slowing it down is an effective method from keeping the hospitals from reaching capacity.

MidtownMark
28 days ago

This literally isn’t enforceable. It’s like the mayor doesn’t understand the government hierarchy.

Taylor
28 days ago
Reply to  MidtownMark

Agreed. It strange timing that the mayor is attempting to force something like this in public spaces. It makes no sense. And if it doesn’t make sense then it’s probably not true .

MidtownMark
28 days ago
Reply to  Taylor

The irony in all this is the mayor was so careless and reckless she got covid but is trying to give us a sermon on the issue. No thank you.

citizenseven
28 days ago
Reply to  MidtownMark

The whole thing is weird. There is no penalty, which is a tacit admission that it’s not enforceable. Expect nobody to change their behavior as a result of this order.

I.P.30307since1987!
28 days ago
Reply to  citizenseven

It might not be enforceable, but it gives a business the right to refuse service to someone without a mask.
People act so entitled and rude to restaurant employees about masks, it’s disgusting.
You don’t like a business’s mask policy, don’t go there– there’s absolutely no reason to start arguing with employees/owners about it.
Geez common decency has absolutely devolved in this country.

Taylor
28 days ago

This is absolutely ridiculous because most keep skipping over the FACT that a mask, or covering does NOT STOP this man made virus like the flu or measles or polio. Your immune system needs to be ok top condition to go in and naturally fight any foreign bacteria in the body naturally. No one is promoting eating healthy or pulling away from mucus forming foods and medicines. This mayor’s timing is off . At first she was the only 1 with COVID then 3 other family members, then she said she test after each public event she goes to, then… Read more »

Yes Me
28 days ago
Reply to  Taylor

You, Taylor, are an absolute IDIOT. Stop getting your facts from Fox News and Facebook.

cwl
27 days ago
Reply to  Taylor

it’s your right to choose not to come into atlanta, please stay tf away

raisedn404
27 days ago
Reply to  Taylor

Bro you need to get your head checked.

Link Odier
26 days ago
Reply to  Taylor

This is actually the best thing I’ve ever heard on this website. Thank you so much for showing concern about this plandemic by explaining that most of us need to be naturally exposed to this virus to properly fight it off! I hate wearing masks because they literally asphyxiate me after 5 minutes of wearing it

donnydarkages
27 days ago

If Bottoms defies Kemp with her illegal order, I will defy Bottoms and not wear one

Link Odier
26 days ago
Reply to  donnydarkages

You’re not alone

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