WINSTON COUNTY - Face masks are now officially required statewide in certain situations, after Governor Kay Ivey amended the state's safer-at-home order earlier this week to put a face mask mandate in place.
Ivey stated that the mask mandate was necessary due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in the state, which is severely straining medical resources, along with many Alabamians not taking the pandemic seriously.
Masks will be required to be worn by all individuals age 6 and over at all times when within six feet of a person from another household in any of the following places: an indoor space open to the general public, a vehicle operated by a transportation service, or an outdoor public space where ten or more people are gathered.
This facial-covering requirement is subject to the following exceptions.
The facial mask requirement does not apply to: Any person six years of age or younger; Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents him or her from wearing a facial covering; Any person consuming food or drink, or seated at a restaurant to eat or drink; Any person who is obtaining a service (for example, a medical or dental procedure) that requires removal of the facial covering in order to perform the service; or any person who is required to remove the facial covering to confirm his or her identity, such as for security or screening purposes.
Face masks will not be required in worship services, in exercise situations, when speaking to someone who is hard of hearing and needs to see someones lips moving in order to understand communication.
The amended safer-at-home order also encourages employers to strongly encourage face masks be worn at work, maintain six feet separation among employees, regularly disinfect frequently used items and surfaces, encourage handwashing, prevent sick employees from coming into contact with others, facilitate remote working arrangements and minimize employee travel.
Ivey stated that there is technically a goal of $500 or jail time, but the state's goal is not to arrest persons.
The face mask mandate will be in effect through July 31.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.