The state of Alabama will be transitioning from a “safer at home” order to a new “safer apart” mandate later this week, the third phase of health orders related to the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Kay Ivey issued her 26th supplemental emergency proclamation Wednesday.
She said after the current statewide mask mandate expires at 5 p.m. Friday, facial coverings will no longer be required but will still be “strongly encouraged.” The new “safer apart” mandate will run through 5 p.m. May 5.
“As of Monday, the seven-day average for newly reported COVID-19 cases was 328 per day,” Ivey said during a press conference. “That is a 92% drop from the high reached on Jan. 10 and the lowest average since the spring of 2020. Y'all, this is definitely good news, and we are definitely moving in the right direction. I want to thank the people of Alabama for being so supportive and giving tremendous help to get where we are.”
As part of the new mandate, residents are recommended to maintain 6 feet of separation from persons of different households, wear a mask or facial covering at all times when within 6 feet of a person from another household, stay home if sick, wash hands frequently and disinfect commonly touched items and surfaces frequently.
Ivey reminded residents that the state is still under a public health order, but it has been “greatly slimmed down due to everyone doing their part by practicing social distancing, wearing masks and voluntarily getting a vaccine.”
She said wearing masks has been one of the greatest tools in helping to combat the spread of coronavirus, along with social distancing and maintaining good personal hygiene. The mask ordinance has been in place since July.
“After Friday, when there is no more government mandate, I will continue to wear my mask when I am around others, and I strongly urge my fellow citizens to use common sense and also practical personal responsibility,” Ivey said.
She said the mask ordinance has been in effect for almost a year, and pulling it now is the “right thing to do.” Businesses will now be allowed to make their own protocol on whether or not to encourage or require patrons wear facial coverings while inside the establishment.
Ivey said, as of this week, 1.2 million residents out of around 5 million have had at least one round of a COVID-19 vaccine.