Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp sued Atlanta Democratic Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and members of Atlanta’s City Council for issuing a face mask order but urged Georgians Friday to wear them anyway.

Kemp issued a ban on local face mask mandates on Wednesday but then said Georgia residents should wear them in public.

“It’s the community that defeats this virus, not the government," Kemp told a press conference. "We need all younger Georgians to recognize the importance of following public health guidance. To realize their exposure can have serious consequences on their loved ones.”

NBC News reported Thursday Kemp filed a lawsuit against Lance Bottoms and others saying: “What kind of message does it send when you have mandates already that people aren’t enforcing? I have grave concern about our young people and other people getting so reliant on the government that we lose the basis of what this country was founded on, and that’s freedom and liberty and opportunity for anyone, anyone.”



Kemp also asked local officials to call on their connections to create support for wearing a mask in the state.

“I know that many well-intentioned and well-informed Georgians want a mask mandate, and while we all agree that wearing a mask is effective, I’m confident that Georgians don’t need a mandate to do the right thing,” Kemp said Friday.

Georgia has reported more than 131,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus , with more than 3,100 COVID-19 deaths as of early afternoon on Friday, according to John Hopkins University. The state saw 3,400 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the university said.