Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has approved of a state-wide face mask mandate to combat the coronavirus pandemic.
About the Order
The official mandate will go into effect on Thursday (July 16) at 5 PM. Citizens will be required to wear a face mask when interacting within six feet of people from outside their household.
What will happen if someone is caught without a face mask in public? There is a $500 fine for anyone that does not cooperate and/or jail time.
There are exceptions under the mandate. Children six-years-old or younger are exempt. Anyone that has a disability or medical condition that would prevent them from wearing a face covering. People do not have to wear face masks if they are consuming food or drink or seated at a restaurant. Anyone seeking a medical or dental procedure that requires the removal of the face mask are also exempt. Finally, the removal of face masks is allowed if needed to confirm their identity for security purposes.
In addition, there are specific exemptions for those engaged in essential job functions, exercising, and communicating. Those who are voting or taking part in a religious ceremony are also exempt but are strongly suggested to still wear a face mask.
The face mask mandate and Alabama’s current Safter-at-Home order will remain in effect until July 31.
What Kay Ivey Had to Say
“The goal is to demonstrate the importance, the urgency of engaging this important tool that we all have access to, and that’s a face covering,” Ivey told OA News. “It’s just the smart thing to do as a person, as a citizen, as one who loves your family and who loves your neighbor.”
“Over a two-week period, from June 29 till July 13, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Alabama rose by 50 percent and the number of COVID patients hospitalized during the same time period has increased significantly,” she explained. “Earlier this week, 87 percent of our ICU beds statewide were occupied.”
Ivey said that closing businesses is an option of things worsen. “I don’t want to go there unless there are absolutely no other options available,” she added.
Alabama’s Coronavirus Problem
On Wednesday (July 15), the state reached a record high for the number of COVID-19 patients admitted with 1,477 people. Additionally, 541 people are awaiting COVID-19 test results. On Tuesday (July 14), the state set a record confirming 2,141 new coronavirus cases.
“There are about 30 hospitals in the state now that have either very limited or no ICU capacity at all,” Alabama Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris told the outlet. “Only about 12 percent of our ICU beds are available.”
Overall, there were 60,158 confirmed cases in the state and 1,200 deaths state-wide, the Alabama Department of Public Health reported.