By Andrew Trunsky
Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order Wednesday prohibiting local municipalities from establishing mask mandates for people who go out in public.
His order prevents any municipality from enforcing a mask order that is more restrictive than the one at the state level, The Hill reported.
The order nullifies more than 15 mandates that have already been issued by local governments throughout the state, according to The Associated Press.
Instead of a mask mandate, the state order says that masks are “strongly encouraged,” except when eating, drinking or exercising, according to The Hill.
“Previous executive orders – and now this order – state no local action can be more or less restrictive than ours. We have explained that local mask mandates are unenforceable. The Governor continues to strongly encourage Georgians to wear masks in public,” said Candice Broce, a spokeswoman for Kemp, The Hill reported.
Previous executive orders – and now this order – state no local action can be more or less restrictive than ours. We have explained that local mask mandates are unenforceable. The Governor continues to strongly encourage Georgians to wear masks in public. https://t.co/MpxkPUkmBL
— Candice Broce (@candicebroce) July 16, 2020
Kemp’s order stands in contrast to those issued by governors in other states. Democratic governors across the country have mandated masks when out in public, and Republican governors are now also adopting similar measures.
In Alabama, Republican Gov. Kay Ivey announced a statewide mask mandate Wednesday, referencing the skyrocketing number of cases in the state.
Her order mirrors those of other Republican governors as well. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statewide mask mandate on July 2. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice followed suit on July 7, according to local outlet WVVA.
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