Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms orders masks to be worn in public

The mask ordinance comes just days after Bottoms, her husband, and one of her children tested positive for coronavirus

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottom
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks onstage during the City of Hope - Sylvia Rhone Spirit Of Life Kickoff Breakfast at St. Regis Buckhead on June 17, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Marcus Ingram/Getty Images for City Of Hope)

Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has issued a mandate requiring masks to be worn in public. The mandate comes after other cities in the state of Georgia passed mask ordinances although Governor Brian Kemp has not required them. 

Kemp has not only refused to mandate masks in the state, he has also banned local governments from issuing the order as well. However, Bottoms moved forward after Kemp took no legal action against Savannah, East Point, and Athens who passed their own ordinances. 

READ MORE: Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tests positive for COVID-19

“The governor has allowed them to stand,” Bottoms said referring to the mask ordinances in the other cities, “So we are going to follow suit.”

In the past, she has said that her administration plans to” enforce it like any other city policy.” According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, potential penalties for non-compliance have not been provided. 

Gov. Kemp could sue local governments to prevent them from enforcing mask-wearing, however, he has not yet threatened legal action. 

Kemp has been encouraging masks wearing, but has said that a statewide requirement goes too far. “We all agree that masks are good and can help stop the spread,” Kemp said in a conference call on Tuesday.

“We all know that social distancing makes it hard for the virus to travel. We agree that handwashing can limit exposure. So instead of mandates, I’m asking you to join me in raising awareness.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, standing next to Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard, announces Thursday, March 21, 2019 that officials will take a fresh look at the Atlanta child murders. (Bob Andres/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)

The mask ordinance comes just days after Bottoms, her husband, and one of her children tested positive for coronavirus. She stated that she had been previously tested on June 30, but that the wait for the results was long. She told the AJC that if she had her test results sooner, she would have quarantined sooner. 

READ MORE: Keisha Lance Bottoms moved to tears, calls for accountability in Rayshard Brooks shooting

“We would have all quarantined,” the mayor said. “That’s my frustration with the testing. We can’t tell people and encourage people to go out and get tested and then they not be able to get results.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s new podcast “Dear Culture”? Download our newest episodes now!