As COVID-19 continues to spread across the state, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced on July 29 that she was extending her Safer at Home Order, which includes a statewide mask mandate, though Aug. 31.
The original Safer at Home Order – and the mask mandate – was originally scheduled to expire on July 31, but has now been extended through Aug. 31 at 5 p.m.
“These decisions are not easy and certainly not fun. There is no way in the world you are going to make everyone happy 100 percent of the time,” Ivey said. “Tough decisions are a lot easier to make when you are on the sidelines than when you are in the arena.
“I have said many times, since my first press conference, when you have been elected governor you have to try and do the right thing, not necessarily the most popular thing.”
The mask mandate will include all schools and colleges requiring students – from second grade through college – and teachers to wear masks or face coverings “whenever possible.”
Ivey also commented on the reopening of schools by encouraging school systems to open up as scheduled, if possible.
“I want to encourage every superintendent, principal, teacher and parent,” Ivey continued, “We don’t have the luxury of not getting our young people back in school. While I respect those districts that have elected to go to virtual learning, I feel in my heart that a slide will occur if we don’t get back into the classroom and that slide will negatively effect our young people’s future.”
Ivey also encouraged schools that have decided to adopt virtual/distance learning this school year to migrate back onto campus as outbreaks in their community begin to slow down and to not be married to one school option.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris endorsed Ivey’s decision and said that many hospitals across the state have set records for number of patients in a single day in the past month. Harris said that he believes that the fallout from the Fourth of July weekend is sill occurring and that the state saw similar rises in COVID-19 cases following Memorial Day.
It wasn’t all bad news, however, as Harris said that numbers in the past four days have indicated that the mask mandate may be working and that the state could start to see a much-needed flattening of COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.
To view the entire extended Safer at Home order, visit https://governor.alabama.gov/assets/2020/07/Safer-at-Home-Order-Final-7.29.20.pdf.