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Coronavirus

Atlanta Mayor Defies Governor, Require Masks in City

ATLANTA — Atlanta’s mayor says she will sign an executive order mandating masks in Georgia’s largest city, defying Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision to encourage voluntary masking.

Spokesman Michael Smith says Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms plans to sign an order requiring masks, which could set up a confrontation with the Republican Kemp.

Like several other local leaders in Georgia, Bottoms has unsuccessfully appealed to Kemp to change his order that local governments can’t exceed the state’s requirements. Bottoms announced she tested positive for the coronavirus on Monday.

“Other cities have taken the approach that they are going to defy the governor’s executive order. Savannah has done it, some other cities have done it, and Atlanta is going to do it today,” Bottoms told MSNBC in a Wednesday interview. “Because the fact of the matter is that COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on our cities, specifically black and brown communities with higher death rates.”

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