This morning, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey ordered Alabamians to wear masks in an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. Here is a link to the updated “Safer at Home” order: Mask Order. The order is effective at 5:00 PM tomorrow, July 16, 2020. Here’s what you need to know:
Masks Are Required in Three Places
Every person is required to wear a mask that covers the nostrils and mouth if they are within six feet of another person in one of the following places:
- An indoor space open to the general public;
- A vehicle operated by a transportation service; or,
- An outdoor space where ten or more people are gathered.
This really wouldn’t be a COVID-19-related order from Kay Ivey if it didn’t contain plenty of exceptions and explicitly protect Alabama’s state religion — football. So, here are the fourteen categories of people who don’t have to wear a mask:
- Any person six years of age or younger.
- Any person with a medical condition or disability that prevents him or her from wearing a covering. (Prepare for a proliferation of fake ADA mask preemption cards.)
- Any person while consuming food or drink, or seated at a restaurant to eat or drink.
- Any person who is obtaining a service (for example, a medical or dental procedure) that requires removal of the facial covering in order to perform the service.
- Any person who is required to remove the facial covering to confirm his or her identity, such as for security or screening purposes.
- Any person who is actively engaged in exercise in a gym or other athletic facility if he or she maintains six feet of separation form persons of another household.
- Any person who is directly participating in athletic activities in compliance with the order. (Roll Tide.)
- Any person who is in a swimming pool, lake, water attraction, or similar body of water, though wearing a face covering or social distancing is strongly encouraged if safe and practicable. (Point Mallard is already closed for the season. So, this one doesn’t affect me.)
- Any person who is seeking to communicate with another person where the ability to see the person’s mouth is essential for communication (such as when the other person has a hearing impairment).
- Any person speaking for broadcast or to an audience if the person maintains six feet of separation from person from another household. (After all, Kay’s gotta be seen during her press conferences.)
- Any person who is voting, though wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged.
- Any person who cannot wear a facial covering because he or she is actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship, though wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged.
- Any first responder (including law enforcement officers, firefighters, or emergency medical personnel) if necessary to perform a public-safety function.
- Any person performing a job function if wearing a face covering is inconsistent with industry safety standards or a business’s established safety protocols.
Requirements for Employers
Governor Ivey’s order continues to place requirements on employers, who must “take all reasonable steps, where practicable as work duties permit, to protect employees by:”
- Encouraging use of masks and facial coverings;
- Maintaining six feet of separation between employees;
- Regularly disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces;
- Encouraging handwashing;
- Preventing employees who are sick from coming into contact with other persons;
- Facilitating remote working arrangements; and
- Minimizing employee travel.
When she announced the order, Governor Ivey said her plan was merely to “inform” people about masks, rather than arrests or fines. She also said the order would be “difficult to enforce.” In short, Kay would like you to wear a mask, but don’t sweat-it if you feel like infecting other people in the interest of maintaining your “freedoms.”