Florida and Georgia courts to hear the challenges for mandatory mask policies

Judges in two states will hear legal arguments Tuesday against new mandatory face mask requirements designed to stem the spread of COVID-19 — which opponents, including the governor of Georgia, are fighting in court.

A number of municipal governments have imposed mandatory requirements for face coverings in public as a measure to fight the spread of COVID-19. Health officials have said masks are critical in suppressing and controlling the virus.

In some places, however, the new rules — designed to keep patients from spreading the coronavirus and the healthy from picking it up — have been met with fierce opposition.

In Atlanta, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has sued Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to block an order requiring masks for all persons in public places. He filed the suit last week opposing Bottoms’ order and guidelines to return the city to the first stage of its re-opening plan, which closes restaurant dining rooms and urges residents to leave their homes only for essential activities.

Tuesday morning, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Kelly Ellerbe will hear the legal challenge in a case that could set a key precedent for similar orders nationwide. The hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m.

Kemp also signed an executive order that overrules local ordinances requiring face coverings and bars similar orders in the future. He says the state has the right to impose a less-stringent guideline that only “strongly urged” the use of masks.

The governor’s lawsuit argues that Georgia law prohibits Bottoms from giving such orders that are inconsistent and more restrictive than Kemp’s.

“Governor Kemp must be allowed, as the chief executive of this state, to manage the public health emergency without Mayor Bottoms issuing void and unenforceable orders which only serve to confuse the public,” the suit states.

“3,104 Georgians have died and I and my family are amongst the [106,000] who have tested positive for COVID-19,” Bottoms tweeted in response to the suit. “Meanwhile, I have been sued by Gov. Kemp for a mask mandate.

“A better use of tax payer money would be to expand testing and contact tracing.”

Photo Credit : https://news.uga.edu/uga-law-school-wins-courtroom-battle/

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