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Ivey follows through on ending mask mandate, issues order keeping some precautions in place

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey confirmed on Wednesday that Alabama’s mask mandate is ending this week while announcing that some elements of the State Health Order will remain in place.

The newly revised order, called “Safer Apart,” keeps in place the requirement that citizens quarantine if they test positive for COVID-19 and maintains the two visitor limit at nursing homes and hospitals. It also “strongly encourages” masks in all situations where they had been required.

Safer Apart takes effect on the evening of April 9 and is set to expire on May 5.

Ivey remarked with pleasure on the state’s low average of new cases and small number of citizens currently hospitalized with the virus. “[W]e’re definitely moving in the right direction,” the governor said of Alabama’s coronavirus numbers.

Alabama’s new Safer Apart order can be read in its entirety here.

The move completes Ivey’s promise made in the first week of March that the state’s mask mandate will end on April 9.

Ivey has continued to encourage mask-wearing in situations where common sense demanded it, including a further plea on Wednesday for citizens to mask up when appropriate.

The governor noted that businesses will still have the ability to require masks on their premises, and acknowledged cities have the authority to implement local mask mandates if they desire. She pointed businesses to the printable signs she has made available that have messages like “Mask required for service.”

Ivey kept Alabama’s mask order in place longer than almost all other conservative Republican governors. She said at its last extension her goal was to give the state longer to get vaccine shots in arms, and noted that the order’s expiration is coinciding with all Alabamians being eligible for the vaccines.

“Please continue to be patient as more vaccine product arrives each week,” Ivey told the public on Wednesday.

Regarding the overall state of the pandemic in Alabama, the governor commented, “Thank the good lord we’re in the home stretch.”

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@new-yhn.local or on Twitter @HenryThornton95.