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Atlanta mayor slams Georgia gov. for injunction over mask order

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  • Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta has issued another salvo in her legal feud with Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp over her city’s coronavirus face mask mandates. 
  • Kemp is suing the city of Atlanta after Bottoms issued a mask mandate in defiance of the governor’s executive order, which stops local officials from issuing mask mandates.
  • On Sunday, Bottoms posted on Instagram a screenshot of a legal document, which shows that Kemp had also applied for an emergency injunction to stop her from speaking publicly about it.
  • But Bottoms said in her post that she would not be “silent” about it.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta has hit out at Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp over his attempt to “restrain” her from talking about their dispute over a face mask mandate for the city.

Kemp, a Republican, began legal proceedings against the city on July 16, after Bottoms, a Democrat, defied his executive order that stops local officials from issuing mask mandates. Bottoms issued a mandate soon after.

However, according to an Sunday Instagram post from Bottoms, Kemp has also applied for an emergency injunction.

This asks the court to suspend her order as well as bar her from speaking publicly about her belief that she had the authority to issue it. 

Bottoms shared a screenshot of the injunction application in her post, adding: “In addition to being sued over a mask mandate and voluntary advisory guidelines on COVID-19, Gov. Kemp has asked for an emergency injunction to ‘restrain’ me from issuing press statements and speaking to the press.”

“Far more have sacrificed too much more for me to be silent,” she also wrote.

Kemp’s statewide mask order came on July 15 as he extended Georgia’s state of emergency, where masks were “strongly encouraged” but not required.

Bottoms’ mandate makes going without a mask punishable by a fine and up to six months in jail. 

Kemp’s lawsuit argues that the Mayor of Atlanta is responsible for upholding his executive orders, and that she does not have the authority to modify them in any way.

In a statement accompanying the lawsuit, Kemp said his lawsuit was “on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times.”

Georgia coronavirus

Riders aboard a train at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on May 19, 2020, after the state’s economy reopened.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters


Georgia was one of the first in the US to reopen its economy despite not meeting federally-recommended benchmarks to do so, as Business Insider previously reported.

It is one of the country’s worst-affected states, according to The Guardian. More than 3,000 people in the state have died from the virus so far and it is currently seeing a more than 15% increase in new cases. 

The feud between Kemp and Bottoms mirrors a wider debate over masks which has split strongly down partisan lines. Democratic officials in Georgia have repeatedly criticized the governor for his decision to ban local mask mandates. 

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