Savannah mayor will continue to enforce mask mandate, against Kemp’s order

ByWTOC Staff|July 16, 2020 at 8:10 AM EDT - Updated July 16 at 7:18 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah Mayor Van Johnson said Savannah’s mask ordinance still stands less than 24 hours after the governor overturned mask mandates with a new executive order.

The mayor said Governor Brian Kemp’s action puts the lives of Savannahians at risk and sends a mixed message to all Georgians.

The order has language explicitly banning cities and counties from adopting rules that require people wear masks or other face coverings, saying the ordinances are in direct conflict of the governor’s order.

During a news conference Thursday, Mayor Johnson said the city will continue to enforce the mask mandate in city limits and will legally challenge the governor’s order.

Mayor Johnson initially addressed the governor’s order in a Facebook post on Wednesday night

Gov. Kemp announced Wednesday he is explicitly banning Georgia’s cities and counties from ordering people to wear masks in public places. He said he’s voiding orders that at least 15 local governments across the state had adopted even though he had earlier said cities and counties had no power to order masks. Instead, Kemp has been trying to encourage voluntary mask-wearing.

An increasing number of other states order residents to wear masks in public. In Georgia, communities that have acted include Atlanta, Augusta, Savannah, Rome and Athens-Clarke County.

Mayor Johnson said masks will continue to be available in the city of Savannah.

Photo: WTOC

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