The Dunwoody mayor and council will discuss a resolution at the Monday, July 13 meeting to “strongly encourage” residents to wear face masks in public spaces, according to its agenda.
The resolution comes as cities across the state are opting to require residents to wear face masks indoors in defiance of a state mandate from the Governor’s Office.
Gov. Brian Kemp’s June 29 executive order also “strongly encourages” residents and visitors to wear face masks in public spaces except while eating, drinking or exercising outside, but it does not require face masks or coverings.
Kemp prohibited cities or counties from enacting contradicting orders that would lessen or strengthen COVID-19 regulations beyond the state’s decisions.
However, the city of Savannah became the first municipality to challenge the governor on June 30 by mandating its residents wear face masks in public spaces with a few exceptions, including for children under 10 years old, when a person is alone, or eating and drinking, according to the Savannah Morning News.
With no response from Kemp to strike down the Savannah regulation, Athens, Atlanta, East Point and Doraville followed suit to require masks in public spaces.
Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch said requiring masks in the city is “very complicated.”
“So far, the Georgia cities taking action are regulating individual behavior, not businesses, and enforcement is difficult,” Deutsch said in an emailed statement. “Additionally, we are part of a region, and most people don’t know where Dunwoody begins and the next city ends.”
Deutsch said she is discussing a regional approach to the public health crisis with neighboring mayors. She said the most effective way to ensure people wear face masks is getting businesses or organizations to require them on their property.
The resolution to encourage face masks will be up for a vote at the Monday meeting and echoes the governor’s executive order.
It encourages people to wear masks in restaurants, stores, on public transportation and in any situation in which people cannot maintain social distancing.
Exceptions include children under 10 years old; people who can’t wear face coverings because of medical or behavioral conditions or have religious beliefs that prevent face coverings; while eating or drinking; when complying with law enforcement; or in private settings with family or household members.
It would go into effect if a majority of the council approves it and it gets the mayor’s signature.