Governor withdraws lawsuit against Atlanta over masks, COVID-19 restrictions

Gov. Brian Kemp said he will withdraw his lawsuit against Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council over the city’s required mask mandate and COVID-19 restrictions.

Kemp said court-ordered mediation over the issue had stalled, so he would issue a new executive order on Aug. 15 with “relevant language” that would address the issue. Kemp’s current public health emergency order expires on Saturday.

In a statement to the media, Kemp said:

“I sued the City of Atlanta to immediately stop the shuttering of local businesses and protect local workers from economic instability. For weeks, we have worked in good faith with Mayor Bottoms, and she agreed to abandon the city’s Phase One roll-back plan, which included business closures and a shelter in place order. Unfortunately, the Mayor has made it clear that she will not agree to a settlement that safeguards the rights of private property owners in Georgia. Given this stalemate in negotiations, we will address this very issue in the next Executive Order. We will continue to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”

Atlanta is just one of the municipalities in Georgia that issued a face covering mandate, and there is speculation that Kemp may allow city mask requirements to stand but with the stipulation that private businesses will not have to enforce them.

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