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Gov. Brian Kemp has filed a lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms for Atlanta's COVID-19 restrictions. (Photo/Christina R. Matacotta)

Gov. Brian Kemp is suing the city of Atlanta over its mandatory mask mandate in a legal battle between state and local government over COVID-19 rules.

Under Kemp’s executive orders, local governments are restricted from enacting rules related to COVID-19 that are more restrictive than the state’s. Multiple Georgia cities in the past few weeks — beginning with Savannah on July 1 and Athens on July 8 — have implemented mandatory mask rules.

Kemp filed a lawsuit on Thursday against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and city council over its coronavirus guidelines, including its mandatory mask rule, according to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.

“This lawsuit is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times,” Kemp said in a statement, according to the AJC. “These men and women are doing their very best to put food on the table for their families while local elected officials shutter businesses and undermine economic growth.”

Bottoms said the city was prepared to go to trial for the suit.

“I am not afraid of the city being sued and I will put our policies up against anyone’s, any day of the week,” Bottoms told the AJC Thursday.

The lawsuit sets a precedent for the state government to intervene with other local mask policies, including Athens. Athens will continue to enforce its mask mandate, Mayor Kelly Girtz said in an interview Thursday.

“We are maintaining our ordinance. It’s been in place for just eight days now, and our enforcement thus far has exclusively involved education and distribution of masks to individuals who didn’t have them,” Girtz said. “We always hold it in our power to use the fines that are embedded in our code.”

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(1) comment

wjabbe

Georgia has 159 counties a very large number for most States. Most counties voluntarily comply with State mandates. ACC does not. Most citizens of ACC are silent about their personal feelings on these issues especially since there are basically zero forums to express personal opinions. Serious censorship is imposed on anyone disagreeing with the folks in power. Flagpole censors secretly and deletes comments without notifying the author of who or why the comments were deleted. This is shameful. The left wing government of Athens, elected by a plurality, not a majority of the registered voters, has gang raped our history by seeking to move a precious historical monument from the Civil War Era out of town. Most citizens are silent but you can bet most are totally against this unpatriotic act by local government not based on any facts. Local government also knows nothing about the science, if there is any, regarding demanding citizens wear masks. All this is local government run amok. This is the same government which refuses to provide public bus service out Commerce Rd., U.S. 441N and public sewer service there and over on Danielsville Rd. too while they provide it to their friends and cronies up U.S. 29 N for development there. They also shafted poor blacks in the Danielsville Rd. area and nearly did not provide them any bus station at all, but did provide a cheap stripped down building compared to the Taj Mahals over on Oglethorpe or Jefferson Rd. or the decadent Taj Mahal costing over $6 million in Five Points. Shame on all involved. I hope Gov. Kemp wins this lawsuit. Winfield J. Abbe, Ph.D., Physics citizen for 54 years.

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