Georgia Governor and Atlanta Mayor Begin Mediation over Mask Mandate
Georgia’s governor withdrew the request to block Atlanta’s mask mandate and now the two sides are headed to mediation. Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms ordered people in the city to wear masks in public, but before doing so had to declare an emergency order to give her the power to do so. The emergency order also allowed her to impose other COVID-19 related restrictions during the pandemic.
Earlier in July, Governor Brian Kemp filed a lawsuit against Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council claiming the local leaders lack the authority to impose restrictions that go against state-issued executive orders. The two sides attempted mediation, which failed, but the Fulton County Superior Court Judge overseeing the case ordered the two sides to try the mediation process again.
Some called the mayor’s actions are overstep and expressed concerns about economic harm to Atlanta’s business community. Bottoms claim the statements she made about imposing restrictions and opening up the economy by moving from one phase to another were merely recommendations that the governor did not understand. Atlanta is one of several jurisdictions in the state and throughout the country that have issued a mask-wearing mandate in public places in response to COVID-19.
The Georgia governor claims that Bottoms’ mandate oversteps the boundaries of local leaders because it violates the executive he issued earlier in July that encouraged mask-wearing in public but did not mandate the use of the mask. His order suspended the local orders throughout the state requiring people to wear masks in public spaces. The two sides will continue mediation efforts in an attempt to determine if Atlanta’s emergency order and mask mandate are allowed.