SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Gov. Brian Kemp will issue a new executive order on Saturday giving local governments the ability to require face coverings on their own property, his office confirms.
Until now, Kemp has only “strongly encouraged” the use of masks or face coverings and included language in his order to prevent local governments from issuing mandates more or less restrictive.
Still, cities including Savannah and Atlanta have defied the order and enforced local restrictions.
Candice Broce, communications director for Kemp, said governments must meet specific health-related metrics to be allowed to require masks.
“If they implement such a requirement, there are numerous exceptions and a limit on penalties,” she added.
The order will have “very strong protections” for businesses, Broce stated, and owners will still be able to decide whether to require face coverings.
Kemp’s current executive order will expire Saturday at 11:59 p.m. The new order is expected to be released in the morning.
Existing restrictions for gatherings, sheltering in place, and businesses will be renewed in the new order. Local school districts will still have full authority on how they reopen for the new year.