BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE: The Birmingham City Council voted Tuesday to extend the mandatory face covering through July 3.
Council members said the move is a safety precaution to help stop the continued spread of COVID-19.
The ordinance originally called for a a $500 fine and jail time. The new extension calls for a $25 fine on the first offense. $100 on the second. $250 on the third. Despite increasing COVID-19 positive cases the council doesn’t want anyone arrested for violating the ordinance.
Nicole Harris is a mother of four. She fully supports the extension and forcing people to wear face coverings in Birmingham. “I feel like everyone needs to be safe in order for you not to spread and to prevent you from spreading it to everyone else,” Harris said.
Some have taken to social media opposing the ordinance, saying they won’t travel to Birmingham because of the mandate.
“We are going to have to take the necessary precautions to deal with the new normal. What does the new normal look like? We will have to make some adjustments.”William Parker, Birmingham City Council President said.
Councilman John Hilliard supported the lesser fines but he believes in strong action against anyone who would intentionally spread the virus. “I would says if someone goes out of their way to sneeze on you and they have the virus that could be a whole other issue. I would press charges on someone who did that to me,” Hilliard said.
Still, Harris doesn’t understand why the council would decrease the fines. “The need to have a fine because people don’t understand how serious this is. People are actually dying from this disease,” Harris said.
Parker said they will be adding a multiple ad campaign talking about safe habits and if they need to extend the extension beyond June 12th on the advice from health officials they will.