Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has announced that all Alabama residents, over the age of 16, will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning next week and that she still plans to allow the current mask mandate to expire next week, as well.
Despite calls at the federal level to extend some state restrictions, Gov. Ivey reiterated last week that she would not extend her statewide mask mandate past the current expiration date of April 9.
President Joe Biden and CDC Director Rochell Walensky asked states to continue restrictions – like mask mandates – as COVID-19 cases have began to spike again in different parts of the country. In Alabama, however, cases and hospitalizations have continued to decrease since January.
“As Gov. Ivey has previously stated, Alabama’s mask mandate ends April 9,” Ivey Spokeswoman Gina Maiola said in a statement. “We have made progress and we are moving towards personal responsibility and common sense, not endless government mandates.”
Ivey again reiterated that the mask mandate will expire on April 9 and she will not extend it again at a press conference on April 7.
While Ivey said while she will not extend the state mandate, she does continue to ask Alabamians to keep wearing them and says that she will continue to do so in public, as well.
“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 a statement last month.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Coffee County saw 50 new COVID-19 cases reported between March 19 and April 2, which is less than four new cases per day. Dale County has seen just 47 reported new cases during that timeframe. Ivey said that since Jan. 10, Alabama has seen a 92 percent drop in COVID-19 cases statewide.
On April 2, Ivey announced that all Alabamians over the age of 16 would be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning April 5. Vaccine appointments can be made with local pharmacies or at alcovidvaccine.gov.