Augusta’s mayor mandates masks by executive order
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis has issued an executive order mandating citizens to wear masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The executive order becomes effective at 6 p.m. Friday for 30 days.
The executive order covers public buildings and businesses across the city, but does have some exemptions for people who are unable to wear masks due to underlying medical conditions.
“For those of us that have elderly parents, my father is 73, my mother just celebrated her 70th birthday and 52 years of marriage. I want them to be around a long time,” Davis said. “So we’re doing it. I’m asking you to do it. These elected leaders are doing it, and we’re asking you to do it. Wear a mask or face cover.”
The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office will be enforcing the mandate through fines following a soft enforcement phase of not longer than 10 days. If you are caught in the county without wearing a mask in public, you will face a $25 fine for the first offense, a $50 fine for the second offense, and a $100 fine for the third offense.
“We want people to move into the place of doing this because it’s the right thing,” Davis said. “It’s what we want to see in our city.”
Davis also pointed out that COVID-19 results are disproportionately affecting more younger residents in the area, specifically in the 18 to 30 range.
“Those of you young people -- millennials -- COVID-19 doesn’t care what your age is,” Davis said.
Davis becomes the next mayor of a large Georgia city to enact such a policy.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has openly said that he believes the state doesn’t need mask mandate and that residents will do the right thing.
“We don’t need a mandate to have Georgians do the right thing, but we do need to build strong, public support,” Kemp said earlier in the week to a group of mayors.
In Richmond County, 1,517 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed with 60 deaths.
“These are not just numbers. These are names and faces and people. These are people we attend church with. People we work with. People we care about,” Davis said.
Anyone who is unable to safely wear a face covering or mask due to age, and underlying medical condition, or is unable to remove the face covering or mask without the assistance of others is exempt from this executive order.
Face coverings or masks shall not be required:
- In personal vehicles
- When an individual is alone or with other household members
- During outdoor physical activity if the individual remains six feet apart from other persons
- While drinking, eating or smoking
- When wearing a face covering or mask causes or aggravates a health condition
- When wearing a face covering or mask would prevent the receipt of personal services
- When an individual is age 10 or younger
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