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Georgia city could fine, jail people who don’t wear masks at government facilities

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Anyone who refuses to wear a face mask at city government facilities in Augusta faces jail time or up to a $1,000 fine, the Augusta Chronicle reports.

The new ordinance was approved on Tuesday and lasts through June 13 when Gov. Brian Kemp’s state of emergency ends. It applies to anyone over age 2 and able to medically tolerate wearing a mask.

Violators may be charged with a misdemeanor and jailed for up to 60 days.

Most government buildings in Augusta reopened this week.

Commissioner Sammie Sias said the most likely scenario would not be jail time or a fine, just that someone refusing to wear a mask would be denied entry to the building.

At least two city commissioners voted against the ordinance, saying it violated people’s rights.

“You can’t tell people who don’t want to to do that,” Commissioner Marion Williams said.

Commissioner John Clarke also voted against the ordinance, saying it is “stomping on four constitutional amendments.”

The CDC has recommended that people wear face masks in public places to stop the spread of COVID-19.

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