Atlanta mayor to defy governor, require masks in city

FILE - In this July 17, 2019, file photo, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms speaks during a Senate Democrats' Special Committee on the Climate Crisis on Capitol Hill in Washington. Bottoms announced Monday, July 6, 2020, that she had tested positive for COVID-19. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

ATLANTA (AP) - Atlanta's mayor says she will sign an executive order mandating masks in Georgia's largest city Wednesday, defying Gov. Brian Kemp's decision to strongly encourage but not require face coverings.

Spokesman Michael Smith said Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms plans to sign an order requiring masks, which could set up a confrontation with the Republican Kemp. The governor has already clashed with the mayor recently over policing issues, calling out the National Guard to protect state government offices after an 8-year-old girl was fatally shot by armed people at the site of a fast food restaurant where an Atlanta police officer shot and killed a Black man.

Like a number of other local leaders in Georgia, Bottoms has unsuccessfully appealed to Kemp to change his order that local governments can't exceed the state's requirements.

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