Georgia Gov. Kemp urges people to wear masks after suing Atlanta over mask mandate

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp speaks to the media during a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol on April 27, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia.

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp urged residents Friday to wear a face mask when in public, two days after blocking local cities from enforcing their own rules to further prevent the spread of Covid-19. 

“It’s the community that defeats this virus not the government,” Kemp said at a press conference Friday. “We need all younger Georgians to recognize the importance of following public health guidance. To realize their exposure can have serious consequences on their loved ones.” 

Kemp barred local authorities Wednesday through an executive order from implementing and enforcing their own mask mandates while continuing to urge residents to wear face coverings in public.

On Friday, he called on local leaders to use “your connections with the local media” to build support for wearing a mask and to ramp up enforcement of policies the governor’s office has already adopted, like protecting the medically fragile and ensuring people remain 6-feet apart. 

“I know that many well-intentioned and well-informed Georgians want a mask mandate and while we all agree that wearing a mask is effective, I’m confident that Georgians don’t need a mandate to do the right thing,” Kemp said Friday. 

Kemp reprimanded some local leaders for using the pandemic for “political gain.” On Thursday, the Republican governor of Georgia sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a Democrat, and members of Atlanta’s City Council for adopting their own mask mandate. 

“What kind of message does it send when you have mandates already that people aren’t enforcing?” Kemp said. “I have grave concern about our young people and other people getting so reliant on the government that we lose the basis of what this country was founded on, and that’s freedom and liberty and opportunity for any one, any one.” 

This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates. 

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