Gov. Brian Kemp has reissued an executive order extending Georgia’s COVID-19 public health emergency declaration until 11:59 p.m. on July 31, while also nullifying mask requirements set by local cities, including Atlanta, Brookhaven and Dunwoody.
In a specifically worded section of the declaration, Kemp says that any “state, county, or municipal law, order, ordinance, rule, or regulation that requires persons to wear face coverings, masks, face shields, or any other Personal Protective Equipment while in places of public accommodation or on public property are suspended to the extent that they are more restrictive than this Executive Order.”
Kemp’s order does not include a requirement for Georgians to wear face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but continues to encourage their use. Savannah, Athens, and other municipalities large and small have adopted their own face mask requirements as COVID-19 numbers surge, but those that try to enforce them could wind up in a legal battle with the state.
The shelter in place order is extended for those living in nursing or care facilities, the medically fragile, immunocompromised, and underlying medical conditions that could be worsened by COVID-19.
The rest of the reissued maintains guidelines previously set out by the governor for social distancing requirements, restricting gatherings of 50 or more, and requiring extra sanitation and precautions at restaurants and businesses.
Kemp’s extension comes on the same day that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms that he would send the city 7,500 coronavirus test kits, 30,000 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment, and 1,250 gallons of hand sanitizer by Friday.
All 41 pages of the order can be read at this link.