MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Keeping to her earlier promise, Gov. Kay Ivey maintained that she would allow the Alabama mask mandate to expire Friday.
During a press conference in Montgomery Wednesday, Ivey pointed to the declining number of COVID-19 cases statewide. As of Monday, the seven-day average for newly reported cases was 328 per day, a 92% drop since Jan. 10 and the lowest average since last spring.
“Y’all, this is definitely good news and we are definintely moving in the right direction,” Ivey said.
During a press conference in late March, the governor said the mask mandate would not extend past April 9. However, she has urged the public to continue to wear facial coverings in public even after the mask requirement is lifted.
“After April 9, masks will no longer be a mandate, but they remain one of the most successful tools we have to keep folks safe from COVID-19,” Ivey said on March 31. Alabama has maintained a mask mandate longer than surrounding states, but Ivey has made it clear it will not be extended past Friday.
On Wednesday, Ivey announced that Alabama would be entering the “Safer Apart” public order, which is a greatly slimmed down version of safety protocols that were previously put in place.
Ivey said that despite the statewide mask order going away, she herself would continue to wear a mask while out near crowds.
“We know that wearing a mask has been one of our greatest tools in combatting the spread of the virus, that along with practicing good hygiene and social distancing, has helped us keep more people from getting sick or worse, from dying,” she said.
This update also comes the same week that the state has expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all Alabamians ages 16 and up. The Pfizer vaccine is available to individuals age 16 and up, and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are both available to individuals 18 years of age and older.
Ivey said that as of Wednesday, over 1.2 million people across Alabama had already received their first shot.
“Folks, that’s remarkable,” she said.
As of Wednesday, over 2.9 million doses had been delivered to Alabama while nearly 1.9 million had been administered statewide.
Closing her press conference, Ivey thanked Alabamians for doing their part to slow the spread of the virus,
“You have certainly worked with us during this year and we are finally rounding the corner,” she said. “And while we haven’t whipped this deadly disease just yet, it appears that, thank the Good lord, that we are I the home stretch. So please, please continue to practice good common sense and we’ll see the end to COVID-19 soon.”