By Hannah Lester
Alabama residents should keep their masks on and continue to social distance according to Gov. Kay Ivey, who extended the current safer at home order on Wednesday.
The order and mask ordinance will continue through November 8, with only one major change. Residents in nursing homes or long-term care facilities can be reunited with their families, which was not allowed under previous orders.
“Alabama has made real progress … but my friends this isn’t just luck or coincidence,” Ivey said during the Wednesday morning press conference. “The fact is, our mask order that we imposed on July 16 is working and the numbers speaks for themselves.”
Ivey said she is tired of wearing masks and knows others are too but urged patience.
“I know that there are many people throughout this state who had hoped that we would follow the lead over some other states who had removed the mask order,” she said. “We’ve heard from a lot of you and I hear you. But I look forward to being able to lift the mask order as much as you do, if not more. And hopefully that can be sooner, not later.”
Ivey said that by keeping the order in place, Alabama can help protect poll workers, and in-person voters, for the November 3 election.
“I want everyone to [vote] and do it safely,” she said.
The current order will help reunite families together, however, Ivey said.
“As of today, each patient and each resident is allowed one caregiver or one visitor with them at a time,” she said.
This pandemic is not over and State Health Official Scott Harris said that Alabama has seen 14,000 new coronavirus cases in the last couple of weeks. Total, there have been over 150,000 total coronavirus cases in the state, he said.
However, the state is making progress.
“The percentage of tests that we’ve been doing that are positive has actually reached it’s lowest ever percentage, it’s about 7.1 percent,” Harris said.
He informed Alabama residents that there is no day or time frame for when this will all end and normalcy will resume.
Harris said that when a vaccine does become available to the public it will need to be prioritized.
The same will occur as Alabama receives free rapid tests from the federal government. Ivey said that these will be distributed to K-12 students and at-risk populations.
Although not a part of the amended order, the Alabama ABC Board rescinded the 11 p.m. end of alcohol sales mandate this week.