Augusta could reverse course on requiring masks in city buildings


AUGUSTA, Ga. – Health officials continue to urge wearing masks to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Last month, Augusta commissioners officially went on record mandating masks in government buildings but now Augusta leaders could be reversing position.

Marshal Ramone Lamkin had his mask on heading into the Municipal Building. For the last month his department has been urging wearing and offering masks to visitors coming inside.

“We just want to protect everybody. I don’t know if I have it I want to protect everybody around me so I encourage all of my officers, we’re required to wear it as far as the Marshal’s Office deputies,” said Marshal Lamkin.

Last month, Mayor Davis signed an executive order mandating masks for those coming to Government offices, commissioners passed the first reading of an ordinance, but not without opposition, some saying if they’re not required in state buildings, they can’t be required in city buildings.

“There’s going to be constitutional challenges to that and that the governor did not mandate because the governor knows he can’t,” said Commissioner John Clarke.

Commissioners are scheduled to take up the mask ordinance on Tuesday, but the action is to deny the ordinance passed last month.

“I just don’t want to force it on anybody I just think in my opinion that we shouldn’t direct through the government to do that,” said Commissioner Marion Williams.

“Do we spend a whole lot of time twisting somebody’s arm to wear a mask, I don’t think so no,” said Commissioner Dennis Williams.

“I don’t think its needed we’ve been asking people if they want to wear it most people have been taking it voluntarily I don’t think we need to require people to wear masks as far as mandatory give them the option to wear it most people have been wearing it so we haven’t had any issues,’ said Marshal Lamkin.

Meanwhile Augusta Commissioner Bill Fennoy is asking commissioners to approve changing the name of the Augusta Common to the Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and George Floyd Memorial Park.

In Augusta George Eskola, WJBF NewsChannel 6

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