Mayor Bottoms says city mask mandate stands despite governor’s order; not afraid of possible state lawsuit

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Atlanta’s mask mandate would stand despite Gov. Brian Kemp’s executive order voiding local face covering requirements.

“My belief is that the city still has appropriate standing to mandate masks,” Bottoms said during a streamed press conference on July 16 to give an update on the city’s COVID-19 response.

Bottoms said she found it “quite interesting” that Kemp decided to void city and county mask mandates after Atlanta implemented one, since other cities have had them in place for weeks.

The mayor also linked Kemp’s decision to President Donald Trump’s visit to the UPS hub at the airport on July 15 to announce new transportation infrastructure projects. The city’s mask requirement also includes Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Trump was criticized for not wearing a mask during his visit. Bottoms told CNN last night that Trump broke city law.

“I am not concerned about the state suing the city,” Bottoms said. “As [poet] Audre Lorde said, ‘I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.’ I’ll put the city’s policies up against any of the state’s. I believe the mask policy is defensible and it stands.”

Bottoms said the city was following data from scientists and healthcare professionals to decide what was best for Atlanta and its residents and businesses. “Wearing a mask is a simple, easy thing to do. We will continue to push and ask people to wear one despite the disagreement.”

Bottoms also thanked New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for donating 7,500 coronavirus test kits, 30,000 pieces of Personal Protective Equipment, and 1,250 gallons of hand sanitizer to Atlanta.