State Watch

Georgia governor drops lawsuit over Atlanta’s mask mandate

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has dropped a lawsuit over Atlanta’s mask mandate, his office announced Thursday afternoon.

In a statement, Kemp said that he has failed to reach an agreement with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) and will instead file an executive order on Saturday.

“I sued the City of Atlanta to immediately stop the shuttering of local businesses and protect local workers from economic instability,” Kemp said. “Given this stalemate in negotiations, we will address this very issue in the next Executive Order. We will continue to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”

Kemp announced the lawsuit in mid-July after Bottoms issued an order requiring masks be worn in public spaces, which he argued she does not have the authority to do.

Last month Kemp withdrew a request for an emergency hearing in the lawsuit after Bottoms decided to impose economic restrictions on restaurants on a voluntary basis.

At the time Kemp said that having the hearing at a later date instead of that week would make for “productive, good faith negotiations with city officials.”

Though Bottoms agreed to clarify that the city’s “phase one” of reopening is on a voluntary basis, the two failed to reach a settlement on the scope of the mask mandates.

The upcoming order will effectively allow cities to keep their mandates on the books but will only allow them to enforce it on government property, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Updated at 3:21 p.m.

Tags Atlanta Brian Kemp Coronavirus economy Georgia Keisha Lance Bottoms mask order

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