ATLANTA – Gov. Brian Kemp signed an executive order Friday prohibiting schools from requiring students or employees to wear masks.

The lifting of mask requirements was among several restrictions the governor is eliminating as the coronavirus pandemic winds down in Georgia.

“As hospitalizations, cases, deaths, and percent positive tests all continue to decline – and with vaccinations on the rise – Georgians deserve to fully return to normal,” Kemp said.

“With safe and effective vaccines widely available and the public well-aware of all COVID-19 mitigation measures, mandates from state and local governments are no longer needed.”

Effective Monday and continuing through June 15, Kemp’s order eliminates COVID-related rules for restaurants, bars, conventions, live performance venues and child-care facilities. Previous executive orders repealed regulations for camps and sporting events.

The order lifting mask mandates in Georgia schools comes as school districts are wrapping up their 2020-21 terms. Most students won’t return to the classrooms for the fall semester until early-to-mid August.