BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Governor Kay Ivey extended Alabama’s mask mandate under the Safer at Home Order until April 9 at 5:00 p.m.
But, the governor said she will not keep the mask order in effect AFTER April 9, that’s the final deadline.
Ivey, along with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, held a news conference Thursday, March 4 in Montgomery.
Ivey said the mask extension is to allow businesses ample time to implement policies of their own and/or make any adjustments they would like to ahead of April 9.
Governor Ivey said, “Even with this positive news, Dr. Harris and I believe more Alabamians need to get their first shot before we take a step some other states have taken to remove the mask order altogether and lift all restrictions. Folks, we’re not there yet, but we’re getting close.”
“While I believe this mask mandate was the right step and saved lives, I respect those who view it as government overreach,” said Ivey.
The mask ordinance has been in effect since July 2020.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
The other big change in the Safer at Home Order affects restaurants. The update removes the seating limit of eight people at tables. That means there is no limit to party size at tables. Partitions or six feet between tables are still required.
SENIOR CITIZEN CENTERS
Outdoor programs will be allowed at Senior Citizen Centers. Also, the Department of Senior Services would be allowed to write guidelines for outdoor programs the centers would have to follow.
HOSPITALS AND NURSING HOMES
In hospitals and similar institutions: Subject to reasonable restrictions, patients and residents will be allowed visits from as many as two caregivers (up from one) or as many as two visitors (up from one) at a time.
Summer Camps may open subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines. The social-distancing requirement was changed to mirror the one used for schools.
This is the amended health order:
VACCINES IN ALABAMA
Alabama has now vaccinated more than one million people.
Gov. Ivey said she wants to urge ‘patience of Job’ as Dr. Harris and his team work to get people in the state vaccinated.
Ivey said even with an increase in the amount of vaccine coming to Alabama, there is still not enough for everyone who wants one. The governor also asked people to look out for the neighbors to see if they may need a ride to get a vaccine or help scheduling one.
ALABAMA HAS LOST 10,000+ PEOPLE
According to Dr. Harris, Alabama averages about 52,000 deaths a year in general, but over the last year Alabama lost about 64,000 people. That larger number includes people who died from COVID-19 or COVID-19 complications.
“We’re closer to the end than we’ve ever been and I know we’re going to get there,” said Dr. Harris. He said we’re just a couple of more months away to what he thinks could be the end to the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic.