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In response to rising COVID-19 cases in Alabama, Governor Kay Ivey announced she will enforce a statewide mandatory mask order starting at 5PM on Thursday, July 16. Here’s what we know.
Mandatory Masks starting July 16
“I always prefer a personal responsibility over a government mandate. Yet, I also know, with all of my heart, that the numbers and the data over the past few weeks are definitely trending in the wrong direction.”Gov. Kay Ivey
According to Gov. Ivey, during the two week period from June 29th to July 13th, the total number of positive COVID-19 cases in Alabama rose 50%—and Alabama saw more than 1,000 new cases in 9 of the first 13 days of July. On Wednesday, Alabama saw an alarming 2,141 new cases, bringing the new total to 58,270 cases and 1,183 deaths.
After days of an upwards trend in COVID-19 cases in Alabama Gov. Ivey made the decision to enforce a mask mandate starting July 16th. Under the new order, Alabamians must wear a mask or facial covering that covers the mouth and nose in public when within six feet of people from a different household.
There are a few exceptions. Masks are not required when people are:
- Dining in a restaurant.
- Seeking a service that requires the removal of a face covering.
- Exercising in a public place.
- In a situation where wearing a mask is inconsistent with safety standards or a company’s safety protocols.
The order goes into effect Thursday, July 16 at 5PM and stays in effect until at least July 31st, when the original Safer At Home order is set to expire.
What does this mean for Citizens and Businesses?
The new order requires businesses to take reasonable steps to encourage both employees and customers to wear masks and abide by social distancing. The order does NOT require businesses to deny entry to people not wearing masks—however, the state notes that businesses always have the right to deny entry to persons they deem as a hazard to the health of their employees and customers.
While some cities, such as Birmingham, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa and Mobile have already enforced their own mask ordinances, the statewide mandate means each and every town, city and municipality in Alabama will need to enforce masks.
While the penalty for violating the order can result in a $500 fine and/or jail time, Gov. Ivey added that the goal is not to get people in trouble, but rather to encourage people to use masks.
As a closing remark, Gov. Ivey added;
“And let me wrap up by reminding everyone that we’ve got many, many big, and important decisions to make in the coming weeks, like trying to reopen our schools without spreading the virus, going back to college, even the whole debate among our universities about whether or not there’ll be football in the fall. And we’re going to need, everyone’s help, if we’re going to slow the spread and turn these trends into a different direction.”Gov. Kay Ivey
If Alabamians want to see Football return in the fall, we need to start wearing masks now. Click here to watch the Governor Ivey’s recorded livestream announcing the mask mandate.