On July 23, hundreds of people protested outside the Georgia Capitol, demanding to speak to Governor Brian Kemp. Among the group of protesters was a local alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Inc., which is Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ sorority
Kemp recently sued Bottoms over her citywide mask requirement.
The group, which also included elected officials, was unsuccessful in meeting with Kemp. However, they were met by press secretary Cody Hall, who nodded as protesters explained to him why they wanted Kemp to rescind his suit. They claim they had been trying for days to get a response to their request for a meeting.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Hall listened to the sorority’s complaints, claiming Bottoms and Kemp had a productive conversation on Wednesday. He promised their request for a meeting had been received.
The governor and mayor of the state’s biggest city are locked in a battle over whether Bottoms has the authority to require masks be worn in Atlanta. Kemp’s state-wide order blocks cities and counties from making laws more stringent than what the state ordered. He’s previously called legal requirements to wear masks “a bridge too far.”
On July 13, Kemp filed suit against Bottoms’ choice to revert to the “phase one” guidelines, claiming that the city’s mask requirements are “void and unenforceable.”
An initial hearing was supposed to happen this past week over Kemp’s lawsuit, however, two judges assigned to it recused themselves. Fulton Superior Court Judge Jane C. Barwick, ordered the case to mediation on Thursday.
“It is not my desire as mayor of this city to have a very public fight with the governor of this state,” Bottoms said during a press conference Thursday, according to the AJC. “I would much rather spend my energy on leading our city through COVID-19.”
The CDC reports as of Friday there are 148,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Georgia with 3,368 deaths. Fulton County, which Atlanta is in, has the highest number of confirmed cases in the state and deaths with 15,221 and 365, respectively. Fox 5 reported on Friday that COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to surge in Georgia. 399 new patients have received hospitalization over the past 24 hours.
For the latest on the coronavirus, check out BET’s blog on the virus, and contact your local health department or visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)