News Briefs: Kroger, Walmart require masks; mayor vetoes council police reform; artful signage

Kroger supermarkets, Walmart stores, and Sam’s Club stores will require customers to wear face masks or coverings to shop. Walmart and Sam’s announced in a blog post that it would begin requiring masks on July 20, while Kroger’s mandate begins on July 22. The decision comes as COVID-19 cases surge around the country and there is no consistent message from the government on wearing masks. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order last night that voided city and county mask requirements, while extending the public health emergency through July 31.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has vetoed an ordinance passed last week by the Atlanta City Council that issued new guidelines for use of force by the Atlanta Police Department. Bottoms said she supports the spirit of the ordinance, which banned chokeholds and strangleholds among other directives, but was concerned it was not in compliance with the Georgia Constitution. The mayor said in a letter to the council that because the legislation is in the form of an ordinance rather than properly in the form of a resolution it is vulnerable to a constitutional challenge. Bottoms said action is already underway thanks to recommendations set out by her Use of Force Advisory Council. Final recommendations from the council, created in the wake of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer,  are expected next week.

New digital signage has gone  up on a former Underground Atlanta parking lot on Martin Luther King Jr. Giant neon numbers and letters spelling out “75 MLK” now adorn the deck at along with a wrap-around digital billboard that will feature curated art from Atlanta-based artists and designers thanks to a partnership with ZuCot Gallery. The project was a collaboration between Arts & Entertainment Atlanta and Orange Barrel Media.

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