Governor Kemp signs new executive order, includes rules on local mask mandates
ATLANTA, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Governor Brian Kemp issued a new executive order to keep Georgians healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In statement issued Saturday, Governor Kemp said statewide COVID-19 case numbers have dropped 22% in the last two weeks, hospitalizations are down 7%, and on average more than 31,000 people are tested daily.
“While encouraged by the data, we cannot grow complacent,” said Kemp. “This Executive Order extends the shelter in place order for the medically fragile (until August 31st), continues the ban on large gatherings, and maintains health and safety protocols for Georgia businesses,” said Kemp.
The new executive order also allows local governments to impose their own mask mandates, but there are some rules. Those rules include:
- Masks do not need to worn while eating or drinking.
- People who have difficulty wearing or removing a mask without assistance do not need to wear one.
- People with a bona fide religious objection to wearing a mask do not have to wear one.
- People with certain medical conditions do not need to wear one.
- Local governments cannot fine, charge a fee, or penalize any private business, establishment, corporation, non-profit, or organization.
- Penalties can only be given to people. Owners, officers, directors or agents of any private business, establishment, corporation, non-profit, or organization may not be held liable if their customers do not comply with the mask mandate.
- Local governments cannot fine, charge a fee, or penalize a person more than $50 if they don’t follow the mask mandate.
- Mask mandates cannot be enforced at any polling place and no one can be denied access to the polling place if they are not wearing a mask.
- Mask mandates cannot be enforced on anyone’s residential property.
- Mask mandates can be enforced against people on a private property if the business owner or occupant consents to that enforcement.
- Businesses, establishments, corporations, non-profits, and organizations may be required to post a sign letting the public know that they consent or do not consent to the enforcement of their local governments’ mask mandate.
“While I support local control, it must be properly balanced with property rights and personal freedoms,” said Kemp. “As always, we encourage citizens to wear masks, watch their distance, wash hands, and continue to follow the guidance provided in the Executive Order. Together, we will protect the lives, livelihoods, and personal freedoms of all Georgians,” said Kemp.
To read the full executive order, click here.