U.S. states issue conflicting mask orders as new cases set another record
By Rich McKay and Gabriella Borter ATLANTA (Reuters) - Colorado and Arkansas on Thursday joined a growing list of U.S.
By Rich McKay and Gabriella Borter
ATLANTA (Reuters) - Colorado and Arkansas on Thursday joined a growing list of U.S. states requiring face coverings in public places to combat a surge in coronavirus infections, after Georgia's governor moved the other way and barred such measures from being imposed at the local level.
The conflicting directives over face coverings came as the United States reported at least 75,000 new COVID-19 cases nationwide on Thursday, a record daily jump in known infections for the seventh time this month, according to a Reuters tally.
With announcements from Colorado Governor Jared Polis, a Democrat, and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, a majority of states - 26 out of 50 - have now sided with public health experts urging that face masks be mandatory, rather than a matter of personal choice.
Bucking the trend, Georgia's Republican governor, Brian Kemp, issued an executive order late on Wednesday suspending local face-mask regulations while saying residents were "strongly encouraged" to wear them.
Kemp, one of the first governors to ease statewide stay-at-home orders and business closures following the early stages of the U.S. outbreak, suggested that mandating masks would be too restrictive.
After Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms of Atlanta, Georgia's capital and largest city, said she planned to defy Kemp's order and enforce a mandatory mask ordinance she issued on July 8, Kemp filed suit on Thursday to override her.
"This lawsuit is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times," Kemp said in a statement. "I refuse to sit back and watch as disastrous policies threaten the lives and livelihoods of our citizens."
Hours earlier, Bottoms, who tested positive for the virus herself last week and is under quarantine, declared the city's mask requirements "enforceable as they stand."
Savannah Mayor Van Johnson, who issued a mask mandate in his Georgia city on July 1, said on Twitter that Kemp's order demonstrated he "does not give a damn about us."
The clash drew mixed reactions from local residents.
"We need to wear masks to stop the spread," said Ethan Padgett, 37, a furloughed art museum worker, as he spoke through his face covering outside an East Atlanta Village coffee shop. "So many people aren't following this day-to-day but are taking their cues from our leaders. If the governor takes it more seriously, people will."
But Pat Walker, 54, who was also wearing a mask, said the governor was just encouraging people to do the right thing.
"People should have a choice but choose wisely," she said.
(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta and Gabriella Borter in New York; Additional reporting by Maria Caspani, Doina Chiacu, Lisa Shumaker, Peter Szekely and Keith Coffman; Writing by Sonya Hepinstall; Editing by Howard Goller, Rosalba O'Brien and Cynthia Osterman)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad said on Tuesday that President Joe Biden's administration would press for "meaningful participation" for women and minorities in ongoing peace talks.
By Eileen Soreng (Reuters) - Palladium prices hit a record on Tuesday, spurred by persistent supply worries, while gold held a narrow range as investors awaited policy signals from the U.S. Federal Reserve's meeting this week. Palladium hit a record of $2,962.50 per ounce earlier and was up 0.8% at $2,948.69 per ounce by 1:02 p.m
By Rajesh Kumar Singh and Ankit Ajmera (Reuters) -General Electric's cash outflow was smaller than estimated in the first quarter even as its lucrative jet-engine business struggled with the pandemic-led collapse of air travel, driving down company revenue. The company also reaffirmed its full-year free cash flow and earnings per share outlook