MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — At a time of spiking coronavirus cases across Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey has extended Alabama’s Safer at Home order through Dec. 11, as well as the statewide face mask order.

On Thursday, Ivey was joined by State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris in Montgomery to give an update on coronavirus numbers in Alabama, as well as safety protocols put in place statewide. During the press conference, Ivey announced that the statewide Safer at Home order had been extended through Dec. 11. The statewide face mask order was previously set to expire Sunday.

However, the order does ease some previous restrictions on local businesses and how many people could safely be allowed inside. Ivey said that businesses will now be allowed to resume normal occupancy levels. Businesses included in the loosened order are retailers, gyms and fitness centers, and entertainment venues.

“We are truly grateful to the people of Alabama for their support and understanding,” Ivey said.

In addition, exceptions to social-distancing rules will be allowed for many businesses if people are wearing masks and separated by a barrier. This businesses include barber shops, hair salons, gyms, and restaurants.

Over the last month, coronavirus cases have been climbing in Alabama. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, there have been 22,474 coronavirus cases confirmed statewide in the last two weeks. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 169,266 cases identified, as well as 2,818 deaths that have been attributed to it.

During his remarks, Dr. Harris said vaccine trials are still continuing and that experts believe that one or two vaccines could be available by the end of the year, pending FDA approval.

Harris also offered his own advice for how people could safely celebrate the upcoming holidays.

“This is the time to be careful who we gather with,” he said. “We would encourage for people to look for opportunities to do that in a safe way.”