Governor Brian Kemp Suspends Georgia Anti-Mask Law

Maria Boynton
April 13, 2020 - 6:54 pm

Georgia's anti-mask law is now suspended. The law has been on the books for decades in Georgia. Governor Brian Kemp said during his COVID-19 news conference late Monday, "I signed an order suspending enforcement of Georgia’s anti-mask statute so people can follow the guidance of public health officials without fear of prosecution."

The state is currently under a public health emergency. As of noon Monday, there were 13,315 cases of the respiratory illness coronavirus in the state. There have been 464 deaths.

Friday, Georgia State Senator Nikema Williams, who is recovering from the coronavirus, sent a letter to Governor Brian Kemp asking him to suspend the anti-mask law.

NAACP Vice President Gerald Griggs, an Atlanta Civil Rights attorney, called on state lawmakers to urge Governor Kemp to relax the law in order to allow community members to abide by public health guidelines. He expressed concerns about members of the community being profiled or stopped for wearing the masks. There are reports of incidents across U.S. cities where members of black communities say they're being stopped for covering their faces.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms had previously instructed the police department not to enforce the anti-mask law. Monday, Governor Kemp thanked Bottoms "for raising awareness about this issue."

Griggs said following the Governor's announcement today, "In the middle of a pandemic, we have to make sure we hold elected officials accountable to the will of the people. Laws should be more sensitive to the  needs of public health. I want to thank Governor Kemp, Senator Williams, and Mayor Bottoms for hearing the pleas of the people and protecting their rights."

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