Then-Alabama Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey speaks to a crowd before U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s speaks to workers and followers, at Thompson Tractor in Birmingham, Alabama March 9, 2012.
Marvin Gentry | Reuters
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced a statewide mask order to try to curb the coronavirus outbreak across the state over the next two weeks.
Ivey’s order, which runs from Thursday through July 31, requires people to wear a face covering outdoors or inside public places if they cannot maintain a distance of at least six feet from other people. The mask order also applies on public transportation or for groups of ten or more gathered outside.
There are exceptions for “practical necessities,” such as for children who are 6 or under, eating and drinking, exercising, religious worship, speaking to an audience and voting. People with certain medical conditions or disabilities are also exempt, according to the order.
In a Twitter thread announcing the order, Ivey, a Republican, emphasized the importance of people taking personal responsibility to wear masks.
The order, while in effect, will replace any local rules on mask-wearing. Requiring masks was the only change the order mandated, Ivey said, meaning there have not been any changes to reopening procedures or gathering size limitations.
The order comes after Alabama reported a record 40 new deaths Tuesday. Nationally, Ivey’s mandate follows a record increase of 67,400 new cases in the U.S. on Tuesday. President Donald Trump attributed the increase in cases on an increase in testing at a press conference Tuesday night.
Alabama began reopening parts of the economy on April 30. Most of the economy has since reopened – including summer camps, movie theaters, gyms and restaurants – and the state allows non-work gatherings of any size with social distancing.