Chorus of woe from Georgia’s mayors and politicos after governor bans mask mandates

by WorldTribune Staff, July 17, 2020

Democrat mayors in Georgia were fuming after Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, put his trust in the state’s residents and stopped local governments from enforcing mask mandates.

While he “strongly” encouraged Georgia residents to wear masks in public, Kemp on Wednesday took executive action to stop local authorities from forcing Georgians to wear face masks at all times in public.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. / C-SPAN

“Kemp’s new order also bans local governments from requiring masks on public property, which void requirements that some governments have imposed for citizens to wear masks inside city and county buildings,” according to the Associated Press.

Democrats who have politicized the coronavirus outbreak from the start were not pleased.

“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,” Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said.

A mask mandate has been in effect in Savannah since July 1, with the possibility of a $500 fine for violating the order.

Mayor Johnson added: “In #Savannah, we will continue to keep the faith and follow the science. Masks will continue to be available!”

Kemp on Friday morning urged residents to wear a mask and called on “younger Georgians to recognize the importance of following public health guidance.”

“I know that many well-intentioned and well-informed Georgians want a mask mandate and while we all agree that wearing a mask is effective, I’m confident that Georgians don’t need a mandate to do the right thing,” he said at a press conference.

Dunwoody Mayor Lynn Deutsch tweeted: “And for the privilege of trying to protect those who need it the most, the Governor appears to have the ability to charge a local government official with a misdemeanor. Requiring masks actually asks so little of citizens while protecting so many.”

Dunwoody was slated to implement a mask mandate this week.

Democrat Stacey Abrams, who Kemp defeated in the 2018 gubernatorial election, also slammed the governor’s decision, stating that he is actively “following the lead of the incompetency and the immorality” of President Donald Trump.

Earlier this week, Kemp sued Democrat Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms in a bid to block a mandate enforcing masks in public, calling it an overreach of her powers.

“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 an Atlanta News Now report.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, announced a statewide mask order, effective July 16.

“I still believe this is going to be a difficult order to enforce, and I always prefer personal responsibility over a government mandate,” Ivey said Wednesday. “Yet I also know, with all my heart, that the numbers and data the past few weeks are definitely trending in the wrong direction.”

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said the nation’s governors should put their trust in the people and “don’t lay down mandates.”

Noem never issued a lockdown order on her state’s residents and has not issued a mandate requiring face masks.

In an interview on “Fox & Friends” of Friday, Noem said her state is “doing really good” following President Donald Trump’s Fourth of July visit, noting that coronavirus cases “continue to decline.”

“I think what we did here in South Dakota is really remarkable because we gave people their freedom,” she said. “We let the businesses stay open, we let people go to work, we told them to be smart, and we also asked them to be personally responsible. And, we’re seeing benefits of that each and every day in South Dakota.”

Noem continued: “We did, in fact, we according to the national experts, did everything wrong. We did what the people on the ground saw. We aggressively addressed those situations, and came out better for it. So, I really think the people of South Dakota stepped up. They did the right thing and they trusted me. I trusted them and they made the right decision.”

Asked what advice she had for other governors, Noem responded: “Trust your people. Don’t lay down mandates that are going to hinder the ability that they need to really get through this difficult time. Trust them, give them the facts, let them make decisions that are right for their families.”

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