• 37°

Mask order still in place, other changes

Alabamians still must wear a mask, but Gov. Kay Ivey did lift occupancy limits in stores and other places on Thursday.

Ivey said during a news conference that the mask mandate and new order will last through Dec. 11. Ivey said she was trying to balance health concerns with economic ones such as alleviating some of the financial damage to retailers and restaurants. Extending the mask order was needed to keep people safe and as well as allowing some aspects of life to go on more normally, she said.

“I understand folks are bone dead tired of the mask I’m tired of it too but asking for the mask mandate is just a minimal ask to keep us safe so our business can stay open and people that are employed can keep working,” said Ivey.

Alabama is experiencing an uptick in cases of COVID-19.

In fact, the death toll from COVID-19 topped 3,000 cases last week, and those who are being hospitalized for the virus are continuing to increase.

Alabama’s COVID-19 positive numbers are more than 200,000.

State health officials say the mask order helped the number cases to drop, but also said they are concerned since the number of cases are beginning to increase again.

“More than 3,000 Alabamians have died from this deadly virus. While obviously some folks are more susceptible to COVID-19 because of age and preexisting conditions, no one is immune as we are all capable of contracting this virus,” Ivey said.

Those over the age of 6 will be required to wear masks in indoor public spaces and outdoors when it’s impossible to stay away from others.

Retailers saw some good news with Ivey’s newest order.

Occupancy limits have been ended for retailers, entertainment spots and gyms and fitness centers.

Retailers aren’t the only ones who felt relief from Ivey’s newest order.

Restaurants, hair salons and barber shops will no longer have to follow social distancing requirements of 6 feet, if they use masks and use a barrier or partition that is impermeable.