Birmingham amends face covering rules, Riverchase Galleria re-opens

In local COVID-19 news this week, the city of Birmingham slightly amended its mandatory face covering ordinance.  Meanwhile the state’s largest mall, Riverchase Galleria began re-opening on Tuesday.

At the May 5th, Birmingham City Council meeting, Mayor Randall Woodfin recommended and the Birmingham City Council approved an amendment to the present mandatory face covering ordinance. The updated ordinance focuses on requirements concerning offices, job sites, children and daycare facilities. 

In a nutshell, the ordinance requires facial coverings in public places in the city to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease with the following exemptions.

“My daughter with a mask made for her and my children. Kassie made masks for a therapist group who donated their masks to the hospital. They don’t have any now.” Photo from Kassie Smith

For Children:

  • There is a face covering exemption for children under the age of two. The new amendment clarifies requirements for children eight years old and younger. (Go to the city’s FAQ about the ordinance – HERE)

Additional changes to the ordinance included identifying exemptions due to safety risks at work sites. The ordinance details exemptions where a face covering may pose a risk to people:

  • Working on ladders or at height
  • Wearing other respiratory protection
  • Heavy physical exertion
  • Operating heavy equipment
  • Working in an environment where a face covering or mask hinders communications
  • People do not need to wear a face covering while working alone in separate office spaces or in non-public workplaces where there is more than adequate social distancing, based on the size of and number of people in the space.
Nourish team preparing for delivery (left to right): Daniel McGill, Mary Drennen. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Exemptions identified in the original ordinance remain in place, including:

  • Exercise
  • People receiving medical or dental examinations
  • Physical and mental health and safety reasons

Riverchase Galleria Re-opens

Galleria shopping center in Hoover
The Galleria via Wikipedia

While Birmingham was refining its face covering rules, Alabama has been slowly re-opening businesses across the state per Governor Kay Ivey’s Safer at Home Order.

The Riverchase Galleria, Alabama’s largest mall reopened on Tuesday. Thirty-six stores are open, including Von Maur and Mountain High Outfitters

“It was pretty calm on the first day and we were ready. It was a very manageable crowd,” Jeff Jones, Manager at Mountain High Outfitters told Bham Now.

Precautions

According to Jones The mall itself is taking  a lot of precautions. They are cleaning the common areas and there is more of a  housekeeping presence.  The seating, public common usage areas like the carousel and water fountains are not in use and are unavailable.  The mall is also offering people masks before they enter the building.

“We (Mountain High Outfitters) are going above and beyond and trying to exceed every guideline for safety to make our customers feel safe. Every Mountain High employee is required to wear masks.” added Jones. 

 The store is also disinfecting continually any common area and enforcing the 6 foot distance rule. Anything people touch will be disinfected, and when possible they will sit for a few days so the virus is not on it.

Support First Responders

Jones encouraged guests to drop by the store and take advantage of a special Mountain High Outfitters promotion supporting first responders and healthcare workers called Give One.  Until May 14th, if you purchase a pair of shoes from four of their top brands, Mountain High will donate a pair of shoes to police, firemen and health care workers. You can also order online. Check out the details.

Stay tuned 

Bham Now will keep you updated on the latest COVID-19 news.  Got news about openings or community efforts to get us through the crisis? Contact us through our social media channels and in the comment section.

  • Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.