BREAKING: Kemp’s new executive order will allow local mask mandates


FILE – In this July 17, 2020, file photo, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp returns to his office after giving a coronavirus briefing at the Capitol in Atlanta. Kemp says he’s withdrawing a request for an emergency order that would block Atlanta from ordering people to wear masks in public or imposing other restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Gov. Brian Kemp will issue a new executive order on Saturday giving local governments the ability to require face coverings on their own property, his office confirms.

Until now, Kemp has only “strongly encouraged” the use of masks or face coverings and included language in his order to prevent local governments from issuing mandates more or less restrictive.

Still, cities including Savannah and Atlanta have defied the order and enforced local restrictions.

Candice Broce, communications director for Kemp, said governments must meet specific health-related metrics to be allowed to require masks.

“If they implement such a requirement, there are numerous exceptions and a limit on penalties,” she added.

The order will have “very strong protections” for businesses, Broce stated, and owners will still be able to decide whether to require face coverings.

Kemp’s current executive order will expire Saturday at 11:59 p.m. The new order is expected to be released in the morning.

Existing restrictions for gatherings, sheltering in place, and businesses will be renewed in the new order. Local school districts will still have full authority on how they reopen for the new year.

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