Gov. Brian Kemp has extended the public health emergency order due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and will allow cities and counties to impose face mask requirements.

The updated order, issued on Aug. 15, can be read at this link: Executive Order 08.15.20.01.

The newly issued order continues the a shelter-in-place order for the medically fragile, prohibits gatherings of 50 or more, and continues to require retails, restaurants, bars and other businesses to follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines.

Cities and counties are now allowed to require masks on government property. It allows local governments to extend face covering mandates to private businesses and property if the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases over a 14 day period is at least 100 cases per 100,000 people.

Kemp dropped a lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council last week after he said negotiations had reached a “stalemate” during court-ordered mediation. Kemp has attracted widespread criticism for not enforcing a statewide mask mandate.

In a statement released to the media, Kemp said:

“In Georgia, our statewide case numbers have dropped 22% over the last two weeks, and daily hospitalizations have decreased by 7% in the last seven days. We are on average testing over 31,000 Georgians daily at 180 SPOCs while maintaining a low rate of transmission. The positivity rate is on the decline, and the mortality rate continues to fall.

“While encouraged by the data, we cannot grow complacent. This Executive Order extends the shelter in place order for the medically fragile, continues the ban on large gatherings, and maintains health and safety protocols for Georgia businesses.

“This order also protects Georgia businesses from government overreach by restricting the application and enforcement of local masking requirements to public property. While I support local control, it must be properly balanced with property rights and personal freedoms.

“As always, we encourage citizens to wear masks, watch their distance, wash hands, and continue to follow the guidance provided in the Executive Order. Together, we will protect the lives, livelihoods, and personal freedoms of all Georgians.”