Atlanta mayor clashes with governor as Georgia expands beds

Georgia News

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp takes part in a tour of a massive temporary hospital at the Georgia World Congress Center on Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Atlanta. Kemp took part in a tour of the 200-bed facility, constructed quickly in the lower levels of the Georgia World Congress Center which normally plays host to large conventions and sporting events. (AP Photo/Ron Harris, Pool)

ATLANTA (AP) — Gov. Brian Kemp says Georgia will increase hospital bed capacity as hospitalizations from COVID-19 surge and the state set a new single-day record Friday for confirmed coronavirus infections.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is telling residents of the state’s largest city to stay home and for restaurants to stop seating customers. But the Republican Kemp has barred local officials from taking actions stronger than what he has mandated on a statewide basis.

The governor’s office released the following statement on Friday:

Mayor Bottoms’ action today is merely guidance – both non-binding and legally unenforceable. As clearly stated in the Governor’s executive order, no local action can be more or less restrictive, and that rule applies statewide. Once again, if the Mayor actually wants to flatten the curve in Atlanta, she should start enforcing state restrictions, which she has failed to do. We ask citizens and businesses alike to comply with the terms of the Governor’s order, which was crafted in conjunction with state public health officials. These common-sense measures will help protect the lives and livelihoods of all Georgians.”

Bottoms earlier ordered people to wear masks, another move Kemp says is legally void. It wasn’t immediately clear Friday if Bottoms is asserting legal authority or just making a strong suggestion.

The number of confirmed cases reported Friday hit nearly 4,500, surpassing the old daily record by 1,000.

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