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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Sues Mayors to End Public Mask Mandates

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R-Ga.) has filed a lawsuit against several mayors in his state, including Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms (D-Ga.), ordering them to lift their public mask mandates, as reported by Politico.

After Kemp signed an executive order on Wednesday demanding that several cities drop their rules forcing citizens to wear masks in public, Bottoms and other mayors vowed to defy his order. In response, Kemp announced on Twitter that he had filed a lawsuit “on behalf of Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive.” He further promised to “stop these reckless actions and put people over pandemic politics.”

Bottoms, who has come under fire for her reckless governance of the city during riots in the aftermath of the death of Rayshard Brooks, claimed that “it’s my belief that the city of Atlanta still has the appropriate standing to mandate masks,” adding that she was “not afraid of the city being sued.”

Although Kemp was lambasted by several Democratic mayors, including Bottoms, Van Johnson of Savannah, and Kelly Girtz of Athens-Clarke County, he has received nearly universal praise for his decision to reopen Georgia on a statewide basis much earlier than many other states. Despite initial skeptical predictions that the move would cause a spike of the coronavirus in the state, hospitalizations and infection rates ultimately decreased.