Gov. Kemp addresses Georgians on state’s fight against COVID-19

In this Dec. 4, 2019, file photo, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp takes questions from the media at the Georgia state Capitol in Atlanta.(AP Photo/Elijah Nouvelage)
Updated: Jul. 17, 2020 at 8:04 AM EDT

ATLANTA, Ga. (WTOC) - Georgia Governor Brian Kemp held a news conference Friday morning to address the state’s fight against the coronavirus.

During the news conference, Gov. Kemp addressed mask mandates after announcing on Thursday that he is suing Atlanta to block the city from enforcing its mandate and other rules related to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said masks are “unenforceable.” However, he does encourage citizens to wear masks as this fight is far from over. He said the state is seeing COVID-19 hot spots in churches, manufacturing plants, and long-term care facilities.

"I agree people need to wear masks. I don't think it takes a mandate for people to do the right thing," said Kemp.

Kemp issued a charge for local leaders, saying instead of mandates that are confusing and unenforceable, enforce executive rules.

“We are stronger now than we’ve ever been and we can’t let politics divide us,” Kemp stated.

Right now, Kemp says there are more than 172 state-run testing sites that are open. He said we must now reaffirm our commitment to flattening the curve and young Georgians need to keep in mind that exposure can have serious consequences on loved ones.

Gov. Kemp is encouraging all Georgians to do four things for four weeks:

  1. Wear a mask out in public
  2. Continue physical distancing - six feet
  3. Continue to wash hands
  4. Follow the executive order and heed guidance provided by public health officials

On the topic of schools, Gov. Kemp said he thinks kids need to be in the classroom, and he’ll continue to keep his options open when asked about a possible future shutdown if the pandemic worsens.

Rewatch the full news conference below:

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