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Georgia officials work to settle mask dust-up

by Kyle Ziemnick
Posted 7/28/20, 05:54 pm

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp backed down from his request for an emergency order barring Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms from requiring face masks in public and instituting other coronavirus control measures. Kemp’s lawyers had scheduled a hearing for Tuesday but withdrew their request, saying the two sides were having productive negotiations.

Why is the state suing Atlanta? The Republican governor’s lawyers argued that his executive order about COVID-19 restrictions explicitly prevents state or local governments from passing mandates that are looser or stricter than state requirements. Attorneys representing the Democratic mayor said the city’s action is necessary to protect its citizens and that the governor’s order cannot preempt Atlanta’s jurisdiction. But Bottoms clarified on Monday that her guidance to return to phase one precautions was voluntary. Georgia has seen an 80 percent increase in its daily number of active coronavirus cases since the beginning of the month, reaching 4,293 cases statewide on Tuesday.

Dig deeper: Read Harvest Prude’s analysis in The Stew of the new GOP coronavirus stimulus bill in the Senate.

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Kyle Ziemnick

Kyle is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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    Posted: Tue, 07/28/2020 07:09 pm

    Ah, masks! Here’s a chuckle amid the nonsense:

    I live in a retirement community in Greater Minnesota. (I’m at the younger end of the age spectrum.) Our “gathering spaces” were closed; then they were reopened, but with very limited occupancy. Long gone are our special-occasion community gatherings for food and fellowship.

    On Saturday, as I descended the stairs to the lobby, a woman emerged from the elevator. She’s in her 90s and has all her senses (including common sense), but with some visual impairment. We greeted each other, picked up our mail, and started to return upstairs. Then –

    “What’s that?” she queried, indicating a piece of paper by the elevator door. “I can see the stop sign, but I can’t read the rest of it.”

    I read aloud, “Masks are REQUIRED to be worn in ALL COMMON Areas by Residents [and then, in small print] By order of Minnesota Gov. Waltz 7-25-2020.”

    She pointed to the bottom of the notice, “What’s that?”

    I said, “It’s a drawing of a mask.”

    “Oh,” she said. “I thought it was a crock pot.”