Chattanooga Times Free Press

Birmingham, Ala., extends mask order

- BY KIM CHANDLER

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama’s largest city on Tuesday extended a mandate requiring face masks in public to slow the spread of COVID-19, even as the statewide mandate expires.

The Birmingham City Council voted to extend the mask requiremen­t through May 24. Gov. Kay Ivey has said the state order will expire Friday, although the governor and state health officials are urging people to continue to voluntaril­y wear masks.

The decision came on the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Alabama will receive $44 million to expand vaccinatio­n efforts. Alabama ranks last in the country for the percentage of people who have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to CDC data.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin said the mask ordinance is needed because COVID-19 continues to be a health threat and most people in the city and the state have not been fully vaccinated. Woodfin said many local businesses also urged the city to keep the mask ordinance in place.

“We will continue to make decisions that we believe will save lives. They may not be popular,” Woodfin said.

The mayor urged people to “continue to do their part” during the “fourth quarter of this global health pandemic.”

“We are still in this fight, and one of the ways to continue to win this fight is to continue to wear face masks,” Woodfin said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the federal funds to support local efforts in Alabama to increase vaccine uptake and ensure greater vaccine equity and access.

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