ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) -- As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise, health officials are pushing for everyone to wear a mask. Some cities are even going so far as to mandate it.

Through contact tracing interviews the Department of Public Health determined the increase in COVID-19 seems to be connected primarily to workplace settings, houses of worship, and social gatherings.

“My dad recently had coronavirus and it does worry me that if he’s walking around that someone else could spread it to him again, or he could spread it to somebody else,” says local Chloe Harrison.

For Harrison this made COVID-19 real and a mask more of a priority than an option. Although, local Jazmin Taylor believes everyone is entitled to their own decision.

"I’m all about people doing what they want, but I’m also for safety first,” explains Taylor.

During a press conference Governor Brian Kemp announced mandating masks is a bridge too far.

"There are some people who just do not want to wear a mask and you know I’m sensitive to that," said Kemp.

Wellstar Medical Director of Population Health Dr. Chirag Patel says he supports the governor’s decision.

"Wear the mask as much as possible especially in social settings,” says Dr. Patel.

Kemp explained that in the fight against COVID-19 it’s vital that the community maintain their personal protective equipment. He even went as far as extending his executive order for a Public Health State of Emergency.

The Department of Homeland Security plans to distribute about 3 million masks to local governments and schools starting this week. Experts say this time around the increase in coronavirus cases has been linked to the younger population.

“It’s weird to see people getting a car wash, going to the hookah lounge, just people getting ice cream. It’s just like it’s a pandemic still. I don’t know who said it stopped,” Taylor said.

Local Alena Ivanovo believes not mandating mask is a step in the wrong direction.

“I definitely don’t feel safe just walking by people who aren’t wearing masks because  that just feels scary,” Ivanovo said.

Copyright 2020 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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