Georgia Gov. Kemp explicitly blocks cities from requiring masks, for the worst possible reason
On Wednesday, the United States reported over 1,000 COVID-19 deaths for the first time since June 9 as the spiking cases across the South reversed the trend generated when numerous states issued stay-at-home orders in April and May. With a better understanding of how the disease is spread, it’s become clear that use of face coverings is critical to reducing the rate of transmission. Short of a new, even broader stay-at-home order, masks are the most effective action the nation can take to break the back of the pandemic. So naturally masks have become a political point, with right-wing media and Republican politicians doing everything they can to send not just mixed messages, but spread the idea that wearing a mask is somehow, in an undefined way, a threat to “freedom.”
Even so, Republican governors pinned between overcrowded hospitals, rising cases, and having to reverse themselves on statewide lockdowns have been revising their mask positions. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott went from preventing local governments from issuing mask orders to issuing his own statewide requirement, complete with fines for those who refuse. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey didn’t issue a statewide order, but he did reverse himself and allow cities and counties to issue local orders. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis … did nothing, because he’s Ron DeSantis, and that’s just how he rolls. But it’s Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp who is really outstanding in his field in the worst possible way. Because on Wednesday, Kemp issued a new executive order to block mask requirements at every level.