Gov. Kemp’s office responds to Augusta mask mandate

Published: Jul. 11, 2020 at 2:46 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 11, 2020 at 11:46 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A media representative from Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s office has responded to an executive order issued by Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis that requires masks in public buildings and local businesses.

According the the Governor’s Office, ”the Augusta mayor’s local mask mandate is unenforceable because it is more restrictive than the Governor’s executive order. See page 39 of Executive Order The Governor has strongly encouraged Georgians to wear masks for months now, and he will continue to do so.”

The Governor has previously said that he believes the state doesn’t need mask mandate and that residents will do the right thing.

This comes after the Governor previously clashed with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, after she told Atlanta residents to stay home, except for essential trips, and for restaurants to limit themselves to take-out.

Mayor Davis says Augustans have a 10-day soft enforcement period before he expects the Sheriff’s office to impose fines. The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office says they will be approaching people not wearing masks as an “educational contact.”

District 8 Commissioner Brandon Garrett voted against a mask requirement last month.

“Even back in June I was very hesitant to, you know, issue a mandate making people wear masks,” he said.

He says the city’s lawyer even warned about issuing a mask requirement.

“Even during that discussion back in June, he issued a word of caution to the commission that according to the Governor’s state of emergency guidelines, that local governments aren’t supposed to exceed what [Governor Kemp] put in place,” Garrett said.

As of July 11, Richmond County has 1,563 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and 60 deaths.

We reached out to the Mayor’s office for a response on the Governor’s recent statement. We are waiting to hear back.

Copyright 2020 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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