(The Center Square) – Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp reiterated his opposition to mask mandates in schools Wednesday.
Mandates “don’t work,” Kemp told Fox & Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt during an on-air interview.
“We don’t need mandates to know what to do,” Kemp said. “We need to talk to people about getting vaccinated to protect themselves from the delta variant and these other variants that are out there.”
Kemp announced last week after a change in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that he would not implement lockdowns or mask mandates because of the “medical miracle” in multiple COVID-19 vaccines. CDC guidance, which was updated July 28, said face coverings should be worn indoors in areas of high risk of transmission.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms reinstated the city’s mask mandate the same day as Kemp’s announcement. Some school districts in the Atlanta area require masks as students return to in-person learning this week. The Savannah-Chatham, Clarke County and Liberty County school systems also are implementing mask mandates.
“Public health experts overwhelmingly agree, and data has proved, that wearing a face covering helps slow the spread of this deadly virus,” Bottoms said.
Kemp said inconsistencies by government agencies lead to mistrust. He trusts local school systems and parents to make the best decisions for students. Most Georgia school districts have kept face coverings optional.
Kemp also said enforcing mask mandates could derail law enforcement resources from crime reduction in the Atlanta area. Kemp recently took $7 million from his emergency fund to combat rising crime in the area. The Georgia Department of Public Safety said the funding creates and staffs its crime suppression unit.
“I mean, who’s gonna be the mask police? The Atlanta Police Department, nor our people, or anybody else has time to go around and force people to wear a mask and to try to write them a ticket or give them a warning,” Kemp said.