Mandatory mask requirement extended until Nov. 8
Montgomery, Ala. - Governor Kay Ivey extended the state mandatory mask requirement Wednesday through Nov. 8, five days after the presidential election. The Safer at Home Order, which in part requires face masks in public, was set to expire on Oct. 2 but will be extended an additional five weeks.
The revised order also reinstates hospital and nursing home visitation, which will be limited to one caregiver or visitor at a time and subject to other reasonable restrictions.
Ivey had been urged by the Alabama Hospital Association and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama to extend the rule. The Associated Press reported that president of the Alabama Hospital Association, Dr. Donald Williams, pointed to mask requirement as the “one thing that seems to have changed in the course of the pandemic” and resulted in less cases and hospitalizations since the peak in mid-July. “Sometimes it is a hassle to wear, but we think it is worth the hassle,” said Williams.
The mandatory mask extension comes as Tennessee and Florida have rolled back statewide restrictions on businesses and gatherings. Ivey said that she had heard from those in Alabama who “hoped to follow the lead” of neighboring states but that she extended it because it is “important to have a safe environment” for the upcoming November elections.
The order also adds remote training of poll workers, enhanced pay, and the counting of absentee ballots at 7 a.m, rather than later in the day, on Election Day to ensure a smooth election process.