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Bibb Board of Health asks mayor to reconsider executive order, make masks mandatory

A new resolution from the Bibb County Board of Health is pushing to make adjustments to Mayor Robert Reichert's executive order.

MACON, Ga. — In a Friday afternoon teleconference call, the Macon Board of Health discussed a new resolution that would change the wording of the executive order from urging to mandating.

"It does not go far enough. We know that we need to extend the expectations of our community," says board member Chris Tsavatewa.

In a 5-0 vote on Friday, the Macon Board of Health passed a resolution that was created by Tsavatewa.

"Being in the midst of a pandemic, our community needs to be able to respond locally. Public health is local," he says.

The resolution would mandate wearing masks in Bibb County instead of urging the public, as stated in Mayor Reichert's executive order signed on Thursday. One Board of Health member, commissioner Joe Allen, abstained from the vote.

"I'm caught in the middle of doing what the governor has told us to do and doing what I really think we should do. You have to follow the law," says Allen.

As of Friday, Governor Brian Kemp has not issued a statewide mandate, but cities like Atlanta and Savannah have put one in place.

When we asked the Governor's office for a statement on local mandates, the response from his team was, "Local mask mandates are legally unenforceable" and "The Governor's executive order overrides local action during this Public Health State of Emergency." 

Allen says that's what he's standing by for now. "We don't have anything in place for law enforcement to do anything if they catch somebody without a mask."

The next step is for the Macon Board of Commissioners and Mayor Reichert to review this resolution and vote.

Allen says he plans on discussing this resolution with both Mayor Reichert and the Governor's office on Monday.

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