Gov. Kemp extends COVID-19 executive order; bans cities, counties from mandating masks

Gov. Kemp extends COVID-19 executive order; bans cities, counties from mandating masks
Governor Brian Kemp when he toured the mobile hospital units. (WALB) (Source: WALB)

GEORGIA (WTOC) - Governor Brian Kemp extended Georgia’s executive order that was set to expire on Wednesday. The new order will be in effect until July 31 at 11:59 p.m. and has changes that impact cities and counties with mask mandates in place.

Newly added to this executive order is the banning of cities and counties from mandating masks. He voided orders that at least 15 local governments across the state, including Savannah, had adopted even though Kemp had earlier said cities and counties had no power to order masks.

The governor’s move drew criticism from Savannah Mayor Van Johnson who wrote on his Facebook, “It is officially official. Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us. It is officially 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. Our masks will continue to be available.”

Instead Governor Kemp is trying to encourage voluntary mask wearing, including telling fans that reduced infections from mask-wearing would make college football season possible.

The order also bans local governments from requiring masks on public property, which voids requirements that some governments have imposed for citizens to wear masks inside city and county buildings.

The governor’s coronavirus orders continue to ban local governments from taking more restrictive or lenient steps than the state.

The order extends sheltering in place for the elderly and medically fragile.

Gatherings of 50 people are now allowed if people are at least six feet apart.

There is no longer a maximum number of people who can dine together in restaurants as one party. The order also says workers in restaurants now only need to wear face coverings when interacting with customers.

Bars can now hold up to 50 people or 35 percent of their capacity, whichever is greater.

Overnight camps can resume if campers and workers have tested negative for COVID-19 within the last 12 days.

Read the full order below:

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.