Mask Mandates: Chattanooga code enforcement inspectors to enforce, Georgia elected officials at odds

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ga. (WDEF) – Masks are said to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 which is why elected officials all over the country are either recommending or ordering people to wear them.

“In the long run we want the city and county to be united in saying masks are the right thing. It really isn’t about citations,” Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke said.

Facial coverings are required under certain circumstances in Hamilton County.

On Friday, Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke announced two code enforcement inspectors will be used to enforce the mandate.

Just last week, the City Police Chief said he would not be writing citations.

“Both the codes enforcement and the police department are still going to be in the mode of educate and inform so that we get compliance,” Mayor Berke said.

According to the Mayor, if the health department hears of a business consistently not complying, code enforcement will cite the business.

However, he said writing citations will be a last resort.

“The goal is to keep people safe, not punish people,” Mayor Berke said.

In Georgia, elected officials are at odds over mask mandates.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms who recently tested positive for COVID-19 put a mask mandate in place.

Governor Brian Kemp has ordered face mask requirements to be suspended.

The Governor who has been strongly recommending people to mask up is suing Atlanta over it.

The Governor talked about it in a press conference Friday.

“Government is not going to be the answer to all people’s problems. I have grave concern about our young people and other people getting so reliant on the government that we lose what the basis of this country is founded on and that’s freedom and liberty and opportunity for anyone,” he said.

“It’s very clear that the governor is putting politics over people. And I joined several mayors across our state that who will continue to enforce our mask mandate and we will have to fight the governor about this in court,” Mayor Bottoms said on CBS This Morning.

Atlanta isn’t the only city in Georgia that issued a mask requirement.

Earlier this week, the City of Rome made facial coverings a requirement.

On Thursday, Rome Mayor Bill Collins made a statement on Facebook.

“Ultimately, we want to protect our community against the spread of COVID-19, prevent our medical facilities from being overwhelmed and running out of available beds and resources. At the end of the day, we simply want to protect our community, keep our citizens healthy and our businesses vibrant. As a city, we will continue to work hard to achieve these goals.”

The post said that City of Rome employees will continue to wear face coverings.

The Rome City Commission is calling on resident “to work together to help flatten the curve by wearing a face mask, washing hands frequently and maintaining a social distance of six feet; as also encouraged by the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Governor’s Office.”

Categories: Chattanooga, Featured, Local News

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