City of South Fulton officials are requiring residents to wear masks in public places, including stores, schools, restaurants and other buildings and public spaces.

The temporary mandate is effective immediately and applies to everyone, regardless of vaccination status. Council members also heard the first reading of a more permanent version of the ordinance, which will come before the body for approval after a second reading on Aug. 24.

“Across the nation and here in the metro area, we’ve seen a significant resurgence in the number of COVID cases among those who have not been vaccinated,” Mayor William “Bill” Edwards said. “Wear your masks a little bit longer. Please get vaccinated if you have not done so already. You’ll ensure your own safety and the wellbeing of others.”

The emergency measure – which is not applicable on private property or in private vehicles – provides some key exceptions. It excludes children 10-years-old and younger as well as those unable to safely wear face coverings because of age, underlying medical conditions or an inability to remove masks without the assistance of others.

The order also does not apply to times when people are eating or drinking in public businesses.

According to the ordinance, those with conditions where licensed healthcare providers have determined wearing facial coverings aggravates the conditions are exempt, as well as those with bona fide religious objections to wearing a mask. Penalties for violating the ordinance include fines of $25 for a first offense and a $50 for each subsequent violation.

The ordinance does not supersede any state or federal orders.

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