Georgia Governor Brian Kemp banned face mask ordinances in the state, saying face masks can’t be enforced in any city or county in the state.
Kemp, a Republican, signed a new executive order on Wednesday night extending his previous EO after the state experienced a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
The new order keeps in place restrictions on public gatherings of 50 or more people.
The new order extends social distancing and shelter in place guidelines for nursing home patients and medically fragile.
But Kemp prohibited face mask mandates, saying face mask laws are “too restrictive” and violate the individual rights of healthy people who choose not to wear one.
While lawmakers such as Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in Atlanta have mandated face masks in their cities and counties, Gov. Kemp said the mask ordinances can not be enforced, meaning citizens who don’t wear face masks will not be cited or fined.
Mayor Bottoms announced she contracted the virus – despite wearing face masks for months.
Studies have shown face masks increase the risk of contracting the coronavirus because people repeatedly touch their faces.
Failed gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams slammed Kemp as “incompetent”, while the mayor of Savannah lashed out at Kemp, saying “He does not give a damn about us.”
“Every man and woman for himself/herself,” said Savannah Mayor Van Jonson, a Democrat. “Ignore the science and survive the best you can. In #Savannah, we will continue to keep the faith and follow the science. Masks will continue to be available!”
It is officially official. Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us. Every man and woman for himself/herself. Ignore the science and survive the best you can.
In #Savannah, we will continue to keep the faith and follow the science. Masks will continue to be available!
— Mayor Van Johnson (@MayorJohnsonSAV) July 16, 2020
There were nearly 4,000 “confirmed cases” of coronavirus in Georgia and almost 2,800 people are hospitalized due to COVID-19.
But some residents on Twitter complained that their loved ones are being tested “multiple times” – with each positive test counted as a new case.