Leaders react to Gov. Ivey’s plan to end COVID-19 restrictions

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 10:37 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Leadership in Jefferson County and Birmingham both agreed ending all public COVID-19 restrictions could lead to a spike in cases.

“Just because there’s not an order doesn’t mean people shouldn’t continue to be careful,” Dr. Mark Wilson with the Jefferson County Department of Health said.

The response came after Gov. Kay Ivey announced she would lift all restrictions by July 6, 2021.

Wilson said personal responsibility needed to kick in and the public choose to continue the precautions without a law in place.

He said the numbers at the time of Ivey’s decision were not terrible, but it didn’t mean they couldn’t get worse.

“Right now, we’re doing relatively well in most of Alabama. There are a few hotspots. But in Jefferson County and the Greater Birmingham area, we’re doing quite well. The problem is we don’t have a guarantee of what the future looks like,” Wilson warned.

Another obstacle, at the time this article was written, Wilson said the vaccination rate was low across the state and the natural immunity from the holiday surge was soon to wear off.

“The concern is we could still get into trouble,” Wilson said.

It’s trouble Birmingham City Council President William Parker said the city hoped to avoid by extending their mask order.

“The mask order will be on the agenda May 18, and I’m very confident the mask order will be extended another 30-45 days,” Parker revealed.

Parker said the city would also focus on increasing vaccination rates by extending site hours and educating those still hesitant.

“More focus groups, door knocking, robocalls, community partners faith-based leaders, working with everyone to continue to get the message out about how important it is to receive your vaccination,” Parker said.

Birmingham had no plans to add restrictions like social distancing, or capacity limits to their mask order, according to Parker.

Dr. Wilson said the county had no plans to impose any restrictions.

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