Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) issued an executive order on Thursday that allows businesses to not comply with local mask or COVID-19 vaccine mandates meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Why it matters: Kemp is the latest Republican governor to hamper local responses to the virus despite a surge of new cases from the Delta variant.
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He joins Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
By the numbers: Georgia on Thursday reported more than 7,000 new coronavirus cases and 46 deaths from the virus, following almost 5,000 cases and 42 deaths on Wednesday, according to state data.
What they're saying: "The executive order I signed today will make sure businesses across our state can't be punished by local governments for trying to make a living, pay their employees, and save their livelihoods. Georgia is open for business!" Kemp tweeted.
"Local businesses will not force businesses to be the city's mask police," he said in a press conference after signing the order.
The big picture: Several school districts in Georgia have already suspended in-person learning just weeks into the new school year because of new cases among students and faculty.
Go deeper: Small businesses sue NYC over indoor vaccine mandate