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Georgia Gov. Kemp says mask mandate not needed

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp(WRDW)
Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 1:18 PM EDT
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ATLANTA — Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp says he hasn’t yet weighed whether the state will take legal action against local governments trying to impose mask requirements.

The Republican held a news conference Wednesday before departing on a statewide tour to promote wearing a mask.

The tour will bring him to Augusta, where he’ll hold a news conference at 11:15 a.m. Thursday at the Georgia Cancer Center. He’s also traveling to Albany, Columbus, Dalton, Savannah and Valdosta ahead of the July Fourth holiday.

“I wouldn’t be able to speak to any state action because I haven’t had time to discuss the matter with our legal team,” Kemp said. “But regardless of what legal action may or may not happen, we shouldn’t get to that. ... We shouldn’t need a mask mandate for people to do the right thing.”

At the same time that Kemp spoke Wednesday, Savannah became one of the first cities in the state to require people to wear a mask inside businesses.

“Frankly and honestly, I do not believe we have another choice,” Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said Tuesday.

“The numbers speak for themselves. These are not the records Savannah wants or needs to break. This necessitates a substantial paradigm shift and corresponding drastic action to keep Savannah safe during these very delicate times.”

Savannah’s mask mandate could set up a confrontation with the state, which is seeing a spike in confirmed coronavirus cases.

Executive orders signed by Kemp have prohibited local governments from imposing more severe restrictions.

From reports by The Associated Press, WRDW/WAGT and WTOC

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