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Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms mandates masks for all Atlantans, criticizes testing process

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an executive order requiring all persons to wear a mask or a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth within the city of Atlanta in response to the rising number of COVID-19 infections. The Order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 persons on city of Atlanta property.

In a Friday morning interview with Gayle King on “CBS This Morning,” Bottoms shared difficulties she and her family encountered with COVID-19 testing and the impact an eight-day wait for getting test results impacted her personally. Bottoms, her husband one of her four children tested positive for COVID-19 following routine testing.

“Had we received our tests results back sooner we would have known that we had an asymptomatic child in our house,” the Atlanta mayor explained. “[Georgia’s] testing system is failing … and this is the reason this virus is continuing to spread and this is the reason that people are inadvertently putting people in harm’s way,” Bottoms told King.

“It took me eight days to get our test results back and at that point one of [us] was positive,” Bottoms told King. “That’s the story that’s happening across this country and it’s also the reason we can’t get to the other side of this crisis.”

Bottoms also commented on Gov. Brian Kemp’s poor handling of COVID-19 safety measures. “This is the same governor who thought it would be a good idea for our state to open up and conduct business as usual when we were not trending downward with our COVID-19 numbers. Our major trauma center, Grady Hospital is seeing more COVID patients than it saw in April,” she said, adding “so I have to do what I am charged to do.”

In a press statement earlier this week, Bottoms stated that public health experts “overwhelmingly agree that wearing a face covering helps slow the spread of this sometimes deadly virus.”

The Order calls for all persons within the territorial jurisdiction of the city of Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, to wear a mask or a cloth face covering over their nose and mouth. The Order also extends to individuals inside commercial entities or other buildings or spaces open to the public, outdoor public spaces–wherever it is not feasible to maintain appropriate social distancing from another person not in the same household.

The requirements above will not apply to the following:

  • any person younger than ten (10) years of age;
  • any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents the wearing of a
  • mask or face covering;
  • any person while the person is consuming food or drink, or is smoking;
  • any person while the person is in a personal motor vehicle;
  • any person obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the mask or face

covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as while visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face or head, but only to the extent necessary for the temporary removal;

  • any person while the person is in a swimming pool;
  • any person who is voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or actively administering an election; and
  • any person while the person is speaking for broadcast or to an audience.

This Order does not impede the operation of any businesses, establishments, corporations, non-profit corporations, and organizations as provided in the Governor’s June Executive Order.

The City of Atlanta plans to provide face coverings to the general public through funding under the CARES Act. The face coverings will be available at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, City of Atlanta homeless partners’ facilities and shelters, and food pick up locations.  Atlanta Fire and Rescue will also work with community partners on the distribution of face coverings to Atlanta residents.

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