Gov. Brian Kemp on Thursday withdrew his lawsuit challenging the city of Atlanta’s mask mandate and Coronavirus restrictions, ending a legal feud between the Republican governor and the Democratic leader of the state’s capital city over how to contain the pandemic.
Kemp said he will instead sign an executive order Saturday that is expected to specify that local governments can’t order private businesses to require masks. It is also likely to remove a provision that explicitly outlawed cities and counties from mandating face coverings, administration officials say.
“Unfortunately, the mayor has made it clear that she will not agree to a settlement that safeguards the rights of private property owners in Georgia,”
said Kemp, citing a “stalemate” in negotiations.
“We will continue to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”
Mayor Bottoms called Kemp’s remarks “woefully inaccurate” and accused him of trying to intentionally mislead the public. She added that she was “grateful that this lawsuit has been withdrawn and the time and resources of our city and state can be better used to combat COVID-19.”
The decision effectively allows Atlanta and other cities to keep their mask mandates on the books, though state officials said Kemp’s order will seek to limit the scope of the ordinances to government property.