Local politicians were in Gov. Kay Ivey's corner after she extended Alabama's mandatory mask order through August, as COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the state.
"The governor has to make tough decisions and she has to do what's best for the people of Alabama," state Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn) said. "If extending the mask order is the way for the economy to stay open, for people to keep their jobs and there's fall festivals, the kids are back in school and there's fall football, then it's the right move."
State Rep. Jeremy Gray (D-Opelika) said he respects Ivey for sticking with the mask order, and that there would be no point in shutting down the state again only to have to go through a complicated reopening with no resolution to the COVID-19 pandemic in sight.
"I think it's consistent with what she's been doing," said Gray. "I respect that. No matter what she does, there's going to be more questions than answers."
Mayors praise extension
Auburn Mayor Ron Anders welcomed the extension. He said he hopes local pandemic conditions will ease enough by then to welcome students and alumni back to the Auburn University campus.
"(Ivey) didn't offer any surprises. I expected her to extend the order through August," said Anders. "She did the right thing to protect the people of Alabama as much as she can."
Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller was succinct.
"(Ivey) did the right thing, and I support her decision," Fuller said.
Last call order
Ivey's extension of the mask order came two days after the state's Alcohol Beverage Control board mandated that bars and restaurants must stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. every night for the next four months. That goes into effect Saturday.
“All on-premises ABC licensees shall cease the service and/or sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption between the hours of 11 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following day. Consumption on-premises shall cease not later than 11:30 p.m,” the order reads.