Republicans across the South challenge mask mandates, claiming to violate personal freedoms.
Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry made an official statement this week stating that Governor John Bel Edwards has the state’s mask-wide mandate unconstitutional. There is a Republican state legislator in Florida suing places on the grounds that their mask mandates violate the state constitution.
A similar conflict around Kemp flared up in the spring when he drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats to try to reopen the state economy. Kemp is against mask mandates, but he is publicly urging Georgians to wear masks voluntarily.
Anthony Fauci, a public face of the Trump administration’s coronavirus efforts, rejected the story Thursday that enforcing measures to promote public health – including masks and social distance – contradicted supporting the economy.
Speaking to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Fauci said there is an increasing disparity in the number of cases between parts of the Northeast and several southern states where the lockdowns are more lax.
“There has been an unusual and unfortunate way of thinking, there have been public health measures and there has been a recovery in the economy and these are opposing measures,” said Fauci. “We should consider public health measures as a vehicle or a gateway to open the country again, to get the economy back.”
Georgia has registered 3,091 coronavirus deaths and 127,834 cases, according to Thursday The COVID tracking project.
“It has nothing to do with politics,” Savannah Mayor Johnson told CNN on Thursday afternoon. “It’s about protecting our people.”
Matthew Choi contributed to the reporting.