Just because Alabama’s mask mandate is set to expire in a few weeks doesn’t mean people should stop wearing masks, according to Gov. Kay Ivey.
Rather, the governor said, masks have proven to be key tool in keeping people safe.
In a Monday news release, Ivey’s office provided mask signage that businesses can use once the statewide mandate expires.
The signs are printed in bright colors and available in different options depending on the message a business owner prefers: “Mask Preferred”; “Mask Required for Service”; “Please Wear a Mask – This Business Requires Masks”; and “Thank You for Wearing a Mask.”
“After April 9, masks will no longer be a mandate, but they remain one of the most successful tools we have to keep folks safe from COVID-19,” Ivey said in the release. “I hope these are helpful to businesses around the state as they set their own protocols to operate safely. Masks are soon to be a memory but until then, lets wear them out!”
The state has been under a mask mandate since July 2020. Earlier this month, Ivey renewed Alabama’s mandate until after Easter, bucking the trend of other Southern governors to do away with mask requirements. Ivey made it clear during the announcement, however, that the mandate would not be renewed.
The current health order expires at 5 p.m. on April 9.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris has said the mask mandate’s expiration does not mean people should not take care after that date.
“There is nothing magical about the date of April 9. We don’t want the public to think that’s the day we all stop taking precautions,” Harris told reporters during a March 6 briefing, according to reports from the Associated Press.
There have been 1,381,699 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered throughout Alabama and 529,402 people have completed a vaccine series, according to the state’s online vaccine dashboard.
As of Monday, the Alabama Department of Public Health has extended the eligibility for receiving a vaccine to people age 55 and older as well as to people with high-risk medical conditions, additional critical workers, and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Alabama National Guard will begin doing vaccinations this week around the Wiregrass after Ivey activated the Guard to provide vaccines through mobile units in underserved and rural counties.
Peggy Ussery is a Dothan Eagle staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334-712-7963. Support her work and that of other Eagle journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at dothaneagle.com.