Kemp’s order voids existing mask mandates in more than a dozen cities or counties, while also extending other coronavirus social-distancing restrictions statewide.

The governor had previously tried to ban cities and counties from passing any coronavirus restrictions that went further than Georgia’s guidelines. But many cities, including Atlanta, defied him by passing mask mandates anyway, arguing it was essential to flatten the curve. Kemp’s new order “strongly encourages” masks.
Local officials who had issued mask mandates as hospitals filled up were outraged Wednesday night as Kemp overrode their judgment. The order came on the same day Georgia recorded its second-highest number of coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, logging 3,871 cases and 37 deaths.
“It is officially official. Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us,” Savannah Mayor Van Johnson (D), who was the first local official to issue a mask mandate, wrote on Twitter. “Every man and woman for himself/herself. Ignore the science and survive the best you can. In #Savannah, we will continue to keep the faith and follow the science. Masks will continue to be available!”
Kemp’s order comes as other Republican governors have recently abandoned their previous opposition to mask mandates in the interest of public health.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) was among them on Wednesday, saying that while she wished people didn’t “have to be ordered to do what is in your own best interest,” she felt a mask order could not wait any longer.