News Briefs: Kemp vs. Bottoms; more businesses require masks; Moddelmog interim Woodruff CEO

Courtesy NBC New/Today

Gov. Brian Kemp and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms dispute over wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 spilled onto national television today. Kemp announced July 16 that the state would sue Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council for mandating masks and rolling back restrictions for residents and businesses. During a morning press conference at the State Capitol, Kemp said “Mayor Bottoms’ mask mandate cannot be enforced, but her decision to shutter businesses and undermine economic growth is devastating. I refuse to sit back and watch as disastrous policies threaten the lives and livelihoods of our citizens.” Over on CNN and the Today show, Bottoms called Kemp’s lawsuit personal retaliation after her criticism of Kemp and President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic. “He did not sue the city of Atlanta. He filed suit against myself and our city council personally.” She called Kemp’s charge about shuttering businesses a “blatant lie” and said the governor was “putting politics over people.” Bottoms said her rollback to phase one of the city’s reopening are only advisory recommendations. Her response to the lawsuit over the mask mandate: “We’ll see you in court.”

Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Kohl’s, CVS, and Walgreens are the latest retailers who will will require customers to wear masks. The move comes as COVID-19 numbers continue to surge across the nation and the absence of a federal mask mandate. Kroger and Walmart announced earlier in the week that customers must wear masks to shop.

Midtown’s Woodruff Arts Center announced that current President and CEO Doug Shipman has decided to leave his role on Aug. 31 after three years of service. Hala Moddelmog, former president and CEO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, will assume the role of CEO on Sept. 1. However, Moddelmog’s tenure will be short-lived. She has agreed to step into the role of interim executive while the Woodruff Arts Center conducts a national search for a permanent replacement.