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Atlanta Mayor Orders Masks To Be Worn In Public Spaces

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has signed an executive order requiring face coverings in public. She's shown here speaking on Capitol Hill in 2019.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has signed an executive order requiring face coverings in public. She's shown here speaking on Capitol Hill in 2019.

Updated at 9:58 p.m. ET

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has signed an executive order on Wednesday mandating the use of face masks in public spaces. It's the latest Georgia city to test an order from Gov. Brian Kemp that bars local governments from setting their own public health policies.

"We've given a lot of thought on it, and we will be going forward with a mask ordinance in our city today," Bottoms told NPR member station WABE on Wednesday morning.

Her remarks come a day after Bottoms told ABC's Good Morning America that she asked Kemp to allow her to mandate masks in the city and he refused. Kemp has said he believes Georgians do not need mandates to follow best public health practices. On Wednesday, a spokesman for the governor declined to comment on the news.

Bottoms now says the city of Atlanta will move forward anyway. Her decision comes two days after announcing in a tweet that she tested positive for the coronavirus.

On a call with local elected officials Tuesday, Kemp continued to shy away from issuing a statewide mandate for face masks, even as Georgia surpassed 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19. He did say it was "fine" that local governments had differing opinions "on the appropriate response to this pandemic."

Last week, Savannah became the first city in Georgia to issue a requirement that people wear face masks in public to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The city of East Point and the combined government of Athens-Clarke County passed similar rules Tuesday.

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