Governor’s office cancels emergency hearing over Atlanta mask mandate

Mayor hopeful to come to resolution with governor over mask mandate

ATLANTA — Gov. Brian Kemp’s office has withdrawn the motion for an emergency hearing over the city’s mask mandate that was scheduled for Tuesday.

“To continue productive, good faith negotiations with city officials and prepare for a future hearing on the merits of our legal position, we will withdraw our motion for the emergency hearing tomorrow. Our ultimate priority remains the same: protecting the lives and livelihoods of our citizens and Georgia businesses,” the governor’s spokesman, Cody Hall, said in a statement Monday night.

Kemp sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the entire City Council, challenging Bottoms’ decision on July 10 to revert to “phase one” guidelines that push restaurants to close dining rooms and urge residents to leave home only for essential trips. It also challenged the city’s new mask requirements.

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“I refuse to sit back and watch as disastrous policies threaten the lives and livelihoods of our citizens. We will fight to stop these reckless actions and put people over pandemic politics,” Kemp said in a statement at the time.

In an interview with Channel 2 investigative reporter Mark Winne on Monday, Bottoms said she felt she and the governor were close to a consensus on the mask mandate.

“It was always our position that those were voluntary guidelines and that these were just that -- advisory recommendations and so we have agreed that I will continue to reinforce that these are recommendations for businesses, and the city of Atlanta will not close down any businesses or force any businesses if they are not in compliance with those advisory recommendations,” Bottoms said. “I know the governor agrees with me that masks are important. That’s what all of our experts are telling us.”

There is no indication from the statement that the governor has withdrawn the lawsuit against the city and City Council.

Stay with WSBTV.com and tune into Channel 2 Action News This Morning starting at 4:30 a.m. for the latest on this developing story.

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