Political Rewind for Monday, August 3, 2020

Gov. Brian Kemp wears a mask.

Gov. Brian Kemp at the beginning of a statewide tour urging Georgians - but not requiring them - to wear a mask.

Credit: Stephen Fowler / GPB News

On this edition of Political Rewind, we focused on Georgia’s communities and how they are faring during these difficult times.

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson was the first to mandate masks in his community, which put him at odds with Gov. Brian Kemp who has said such mandates are unenforceable.  The mayor said Savannah "went to a mask because that's where the science led us."

"It's a little disappointing that, although the White House says masks work and has recommended in their official reports that Georgia go to a full mask policy ...  Georgia still decides not to do it and then to try to purposely stop cities from protecting our folks." 

Albany was one of the first hotspots for COVID-19 in the entire country.  Mayor Bo Dorough joined us to talk about how his city made it through the first few months, and what’s happening now as cases climb again.  He also weighed in on the mask debate, saying he takes issue with Gov. Kemp's order banning masks. 

"In the executive order, it's requiring Georgians to wash their hands and maintain social distance, so why don't you go the next step like 34 states have and require masks in public?" Dorough said.

Cuthbert Mayor Steve Whatley and his city received a major blow recently: their hospital, after years of financial struggle, is closing, done in by COVID-19.  The result is a lack of access to immediate health care.  

"We are really concerned, mainly because our emergency room is going to be closing also, it's going to put a lot of pressure on EMS," Whatley said.

The mayor said there is also the potential damage to the community economically because of job losses.

AJC Senior Reporter Tamar Hallerman also joined us as we discussed the impact of COVID-19, elections and racial justice.


Listen to Political Rewind with Bill Nigut each weekday at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on GPB Radio, or you can listen anytime at GPBNews.org, Facebook.com/GPBNews or wherever you get your podcasts.