Both the city of Atlanta and East Point are making face masks mandatory to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced she will sign an order July 8 to make masks mandatory in Atlanta. While details have not yet been released, her announcement comes just days after Governor Brian Kemp deployed 1,000 troops to Atlanta after a Fourth of July weekend full of violence.
“Atlanta is going to do it today because the fact of the matter is that COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on our city, specifically black and brown communities with higher death rates,” Bottoms said on MSNBC.
According to the Georgia Department of Health, 1,361 Black or African-American Georgians have died as a result of the coronavirus. At the time of publishing, Fulton County has 9,066 confirmed cases of the coronavirus.
East Point has also taken the step to mandate face masks. Beginning July 8 at midnight, everyone over the age of 2 in East Point is required to wear a face mask or face covering. The ordinance will end when Georgia’s COVID-19-related state of emergency ends Aug. 11.
Face masks are required for anyone entering a commercial business, as well as all restaurant, retail, salon, barbershop, grocery store and pharmacy employees. According to the ordinance, anyone caught without a mask can be fined up to $75.
Athens and Savannah have implemented similar ordinances. Doraville is voting on a similar ordinance at its council meeting July 13, and DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson has also proposed a mask ordinance.