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"Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us," Savannah mayor says after mask decision

COVID-19 cases climbing in 41 states
COVID-19 cases climbing in 41 states 04:10

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson slammed Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in a tweet on Wednesday after Kemp explicitly banned cities and counties in the state from ordering people to wear masks in public. Johnson said the governor is ignoring science.

"It is officially official," Johnson tweeted. "Governor Kemp does not give a damn about us. Every man and woman for himself/herself. Ignore the science and survive the best you can. In #Savannah, we will continue to keep the faith and follow the science. Masks will continue to be available!"

At least 15 local governments across the state had adopted face masks orders, even though Kemp had earlier said cities and counties had no power to make those decisions, The Associated Press reports. Kemp voided the local orders on Wednesday. His new order bans local governments from requiring masks on public property.

Kemp's new order also voids requirements for masks inside city and county buildings, which some governments had imposed, according to the AP. 

Earlier this month, Johnson signed an emergency order requiring face coverings in public spaces and in commercial businesses in Savannah, CBS Savannah affiliate WTOC reported. During a news conference last week, Johnson said some businesses were not following the order and he amended the order to include a penalty of $500 for violators. 

Kemp's move is likely to incense other local officials across the state, where mask orders had applied to more than 10% of Georgia's residents, the AP reported. 

The CDC recommends that people cover their faces in public when social distancing is hard to maintain to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. Many states have implemented mask mandates, including New York, which was once the epicenter of the pandemic. Several nationwide businesses, including Walmart, are also requiring masks. 

CBS News has reached out Kemp and Johnson. They didn't immediately respond.

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