By Hannah Lester
Gov. Kay Ivey extended the current safer at home order and mask ordinance through Aug. 31 during a Wednesday morning press conference.
The mask ordinance, first announced on July 15 requires face coverings when in pubic or when social distancing cannot be enforced.
The amended order still requires the use of face masks except when eating, actively exercising, or performing essential job functions, among other exceptions .
“Ya’ll these decisions are not easy and they’re certainly not fun and there’s no way in the world you’re ever going to make everybody happy one hundred percent of the time,” Ivey said. “…
When you’ve been elected governor you’ve got to try to do the right thing, not necessarily the popular thing.”
The only change to Ivey’s order specifies that students in the second grade through college will be required to wear masks or face coverings.
“We just must remain vigilant if we’re going to get our kids back in school and keep our economy open and wearing a mask can’t hurt but it sure can help,” Ivey said.
Ivey strongly encouraged parents to send their children back to school in person, rather than virtually.
“I want to encourage every superintendent, every principal, every teacher and every parent who’s listening, we don’t have the luxury of not getting our young people back in school,” she said.
The governor said she expects to see a decline in education and negative impacts if children do not return to school.
“Here’s a challenge to all of our school districts and each of our schools around the state,” Ivey said. “Nothing is set in concrete and if the COVID-19 situation in your community or counties permits, you should be looking to phase back into in-person classroom participation if at all possible.”
State Health Official Scott Harris shared a look at Alabama’s rising coronavirus numbers and strongly support Ivey’s extended order.
“As of this morning we’re at 81,687 confirmed cases so far,” he said. “More than 22,000 of those have been confirmed just in the past two weeks. We added about 1,345 cases yesterday.”
Harris said it is too early to tell if the last few days have led to a flattening of the curve and that the state is still seeing repercussions from the July 4 weekend.