Georgia businesses won’t have to comply with local COVID-19 measureslike mask or vaccine mandates under a new executive order, as the state’s hospitals continue to be stretched to their limit.
Gov. Brian Kemp issued an executive order Thursday that will keep businesses from being forced to follow COVID-19 ordinances put in place by local jurisdictions. The Republican governor said the order was issued to protect recovering businesses from “another round of shutdowns.” It doesn’t prevent businesses from complying with local orders, but the ordinances won’t be enforced, he said.
“Local governments will not be able to force businesses to be the city’s mask police, the vaccine police or any other burdensome restriction that will only lead to employees being let go, revenue tanking and businesses closing their doors,” Kemp said during a press briefing announcing the order.
Several cities in Georgia have reinstated mask mandates amid rising COVID-19 cases. Last month, Atlanta issued a mandate requiring mask use in public indoor spaces, including private businesses. Nearby, Decatur issued a similar mandate, though businesses can opt out. Savannah has issued a mask mandate for some indoor public spaces, though it doesn’t include businesses.