Birmingham City Council votes to extend face covering ordinance

Face covering ordinance in B'ham likely to be extended

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The Birmingham City Council has voted to extend the face covering ordinance for two more weeks, to June 12th.

The ordinance was supposed to expire Friday at 11:59 p.m.

The city council believes with increasing numbers of positive cases the ordinance needs to be extended for a while longer.

Birmingham City Council President William Parker said with more businesses and activities opening the mandatory ordinance is still needed. “As we do all we can to flatten the curve of COVID-19, we need to use all the tools we have in the tool box,” Parker said.

The ordinance calls for a $500 dollar fine and possible jail time for violation. There have been no fines or arrest to date. The Birmingham Police Department has been educating people about the need to cover up. At least one Birmingham City Councilman remains against the ordinance.

“I’ve been against the face mask ordinance from the beginning, not because I don’t think it’s an efficient way of preventing viral transmission. It’s because I think it’s a government overreach.” Hunter Williams, Birmingham City Council said.

Williams said businesses can require people to wear masks if they choose to do so. But Parker said the city needs to do more to help prevent the spread of the disease. “It’s more than just testing. Its face coverings. It’s receiving additional data as it relates to African Americans being disproportionately affected,” Parker said.

A spokesman for Mayor Woodfin said the administration will go along with the extension.

Parker said the city plans to step up its safety campaign. Billboard and TV ads will be used to tell people to take steps to protect themselves, next week health officials will address and advise the council.

The council is also looking to ease the penalties for violating the ordinance.

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