Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is suing Atlanta for illegally circumventing state executive orders with its mandate to require face masks in public, among other Wuhan coronavirus rules.
“Governor Kemp must be allowed, as the chief executive of this state, to manage the public health emergency without Mayor Bottoms issuing void and unenforceable orders which only serve to confuse the public,” states the lawsuit, which was filed in state court on Thursday.
The move comes after Kemp issued an executive order barring local mask mandates. A defiant Bottoms proceeded, saying she was unafraid of Atlanta being sued.
The mayor had announced earlier this month that Atlanta would go back to Phase 1 of its reopening plan over the uptick in cases, arguing the state “recklessly” reopened too quickly.
While Kemp has "strongly encouraged" those in the state to "wear coverings as practicable," he has argued mask mandates are "unenforceable" and go "a bridge too far."
Bottoms last week made statements that people had to return to sheltering at home and forcing restaurants to return to only offering takeout and delivery. Kemp quickly swatted those claims down, and Bottoms on Thursday described them as guidelines. But Kemp’s lawsuit says the court should set Bottoms straight on those statements as well, and forbid her from making more claims about her power to reporters.
Kemp says he strongly supports mask-wearing to combat the spread of COVID-19 infections. He traveled the state this month to encourage face coverings. But he has maintained for weeks that cities and counties can’t require masks in public places, saying local actions can’t be more or less restrictive than his statewide orders. (AP)
On Twitter, Kemp said the lawsuit was for “Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times.”
These men and women are doing their very best to put food on the table for their families while local elected officials shutter businesses and undermine economic growth. (2/4)— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) July 16, 2020
We will fight to stop these reckless actions and put people over pandemic politics. (4/4)— Governor Brian P. Kemp (@GovKemp) July 16, 2020