The Sandy Springs City Council adopted a face mask mandate ordinance on Aug. 20 to replace Mayor Rusty Paul’s similar executive order during a special meeting held virtually.

Face masks must be worn in all public spaces and public buildings under the ordinance. Private businesses are not required to follow that order, but they can decide to comply with it. That would enable them to call the Sandy Springs Police Department if a customer refused to wear a mask or leave the business.

Businesses that don’t wish to comply will have to post a clearly legible sign with letters 1 inch tall in Arial font at every public entrance that says: “This location does not require the use of masks or facial coverings upon this property.”

Paul ran with Councilmember Andy Bauman’s suggestion that city staff print out posters and distribute them to businesses, even hiring people to do it. He also asked City Manager Andrea Surratt to work with the Public Works Department to deploy mobile message boards to urge mask use, and also using video screens at City Springs.

“I know that there are some residents who will be frustrated by this, but I hope that they will take it seriously and understand the spirit in which it’s been approved,” Councilmember Chris Burnett said, “because we are all pulling together to work through this. This is good for our businesses, it’s good for our communities, most importantly, it’s best for the safety of our residents.”

“I think it’s an important signal to the community of the seriousness of the pandemic,” Paul said. “Even though the good news is that over the last 14 days is the rate of infection in Sandy Springs has dropped almost 50%.”

He said a coronavirus hot spot around Northwood Drive has cooled down, and warm spots around Abernathy Road also seem to have cooled a bit.

Editor’s note: A previous story about this ordinance incorrectly reported that the City Council vote would be held on Aug. 21 rather than Aug. 20.

Bob Pepalis covers Sandy Springs for Rough Draft Atlanta and Reporter Newspapers.