BREAKING: Macon mayor vetoes county mask mandate

Photo+by+Mika+Baumeister+on+Unsplash

Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

As Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms clash over whether local mask mandates can stand, Macon Mayor Robert Reichert vetoed on July 27 a measure passed by the city commission that would mandate masks in Macon-Bibb County.

“I truly believe we should do everything within our power to convince individuals to follow all preventative measures to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Reichert told city commissioners in a letter published by WMAZ. “But I believe we have gone as far as we can, legally, to get people to wear their masks, practice socially distancing, avoiding large groups and more.”

The Kemp administration has been drawing a firm line that local governments cannot enact measures that go beyond the state requirements, and specifically barring mask mandates in a recent executive order.

This has set up numerous battles with local municipalities like Savannah, Athens and most prominently Atlanta. Atlanta Mayor Bottoms and Kemp have been working to find a resolution while eschewing a court battle, but have recently encountered some difficulties reconciling.

Many local officials believe that the governor’s actions are politically motivated and inhibit local officials from protecting their residents.

Reichert implored local businesses to take appropriate measures to slow COVID-19, with the issue being the legality of mask mandates, his letter to commissioners said. Check back for updates.

As of July 27, almost 2,700 cases have been reported in Macon-Bibb County, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health. Case numbers continue to climb.