Coronavirus

These Georgia Cities Have Face Mask Mandates

Chris Heithaus wears a mask as he wraps silverware at a Waffle House restaurant in Savannah on April 27.
Chris Heithaus wears a mask as he wraps silverware at a Waffle House restaurant in Savannah on April 27.
Credit Russ Bynum / Associated Press, File
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Updated July 15 at 8:07 a.m.

The number of cities in Georgia with mask mandates is growing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released guidance saying that cloth face coverings may prevent the spread of the coronavirus from the person wearing the mask to others, and the CDC advises mask-wearing in public. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has encouraged the wearing of them during his recent tour.

Even though Georgia doesn’t have a statewide mandate for wearing masks, cities in the state have been sharing their orders enforcing the use of face coverings in public, complete with penalties.

However, Kemp issued an order on July 15 that suspended local mask mandates that enforced the wearing of face shields and other face coverings in public spaces. Instead, he used the order to encourage the wearing of face coverings “as practicable.”

These were areas in Georgia that, previously, put mask orders in place.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced and signed an executive order Wednesday requiring masks in public spaces in the city. This proclamation came after Bottoms said on Twitter on Monday that she tested positive for COVID-19.

“We will continue to take active measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 infections in Atlanta,” Bottoms said in a statement. “Public health experts overwhelmingly agree that wearing a face covering helps slow the spread of this sometimes deadly virus.”

A spokeswoman for Kemp is calling local mask orders in Georgia, like the one signed by Bottoms, “unenforceable,” though both the state and city agree that people should be wearing masks.

“We continue to encourage Georgians to do the right thing and wear a mask voluntarily,” Candice Broce said in a statement. “If the Mayor wants to flatten the curve in Atlanta, she should start enforcing the current provisions of the Governor’s orders.”

The mayor of Augusta also enacted an order mandating masks in public spaces in the city. The mayor said fines will eventually apply for non-compliance.

Athens-Clarke County, home to the University of Georgia, will start enforcing face mask use at 8 a.m. Thursday. The order will expire Aug. 4, unless it is extended. The fines for breaking the order are $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second and $100 for the third or any other that follows.

The city of Brookhaven‘s mayor signed an executive order on Thursday mandating masks in commercial establishments that is “effective immediately.” The fine non-compliance is up to $500.

In Decatur, there has been a mask ordinance in place since July 11, and is planned to last until Aug. 17, unless it is extended. Fines for non-compliance start at $25 for a first offense, $50 for the second one, and $100 for the third.

A citywide face mask ordinance is in the works for Doraville, with officials planning to introduce an ordinance at their next meeting July 13, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

East Point City Council voted to approve the rule July 6, according to a Wednesday press release. The ordinance went into effect on Thursday, and fines of $75 will be given out starting Monday.

Fairburn has a mask ordinance that went into effect on July 9, and the fine for not wearing a face-covering is up to $25 and began to be issued on Monday.

Savannah was reportedly the first city in Georgia to enforce the wearing of masks citywide, and the penalty is up to $500. The emergency order went into effect July 1 and will remain in effect “until further notice.”

Since July 11, South Fulton has had a mask ordinance and is set to expire in 30 days. The first penalty for non-compliance is a warning and the second is a $100 fine.

WABE’s Emma Hurt and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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