Gov. Kemp uses new executive order to remind local leaders they can’t force mask wearing

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp extended the state’s COVID-19 guidelines again Wednesday evening, reiterating what his previous executive orders already said: No local government can institute laws or ordinances that go above or below the guidelines spelled out in the orders.

Kemp extended guidelines through the end of the month. His executive order says that all Georgians should continue to social distance and people with underlying conditions should stay home when possible through July 31.


As part of the executive order, Kemp said face masks are strongly encouraged, but not mandated. The language in his order specified that cities and counties can’t require the use of masks or other face coverings.

The governor has called such a requirement “a bridge too far,” and his office has said local mandates are unenforceable.

This comes as more and more states and cities are now requiring people to wear masks in public as cases of COVID-19 cases continue to surge across parts of the country, including here in Georgia.

The City of Doraville announced their opposition to Kemp’s order Thursday.

Mayor Joseph Geierman said in a statement, reading, in part, “Public health and safety should never be a political issue. We are disappointed with Governor Kemp’s recent decision to overrule over a dozen Georgia cities from mandating the wearing of masks, including Doraville. The governor’s open hostility to common-sense protections has once again put Georgia in the national spotlight as a state where decisions are made based on politics, not science.”

Several big box chains and grocery stores have also started requiring customers to wear masks in order to shop inside their stores.

Information from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this article.

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