Mask mandate to end Friday

Since July 16, 2020, a statewide mask mandate has been in place in Alabama to help curb the spread of COVID-19. With Gov. Kay Ivey’s most recent proclamation, which was issued March 4 and extended her “Safer at Home Order”, that mandate is set to expire this Friday.

The original mandate was scheduled to be in place from July 16 to July 31; however, with COVID cases across the state and country consistently rising until early 2021, Alabama kept the mandate in place for eight months. Individuals were required to wear facial coverings when within six feet of others in public or around others from different households.

As of Tuesday, Alabama has had half a million cases of COVID-19 since the first confirmed case a little more than a year ago. More than ten thousand of those cases resulted in a fatality.

In DeKalb County, there have been 8,706 confirmed cases and 181 deaths. In the last 14 days, there have been 33 new confirmed cases, and 29,697 tests have been administered in total. DeKalb has also remained “Low Risk” on the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Risk Indicator for several weeks. To be considered low risk, a county must be in a downward trajectory of 14 or more days, or have a rate of 10 or less cases over the last two weeks.

According to a statement released by ADPH Monday, masks will still be “encouraged” after the mandate expires but not required.

“Masks or other facial coverings will no longer be a mandate after April 9, but ADPH reminds everyone that masks remain one of the most successful tools to help reduce the spread of COVID-19,” the statement read. “Many businesses and healthcare facilities will continue to require facial coverings in their facilities. Hospitals and nursing homes are under federal guidance that supports the use of facial coverings, and we anticipate the requirement for facial coverings to remain in place at those facilities.”

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