BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Despite objections from one member of the Birmingham City Council, the city will continue to uphold its face mask ordinance.
On Tuesday, the council voted 7-1 to extend the ordinance, which requires all Birmingham residents to wear face masks while in public, through to July 3. The sole objection was from Councilor Hunter Williams, who represents the city’s District 2. Williams said continuing to enforce the ordinance would not change more people’s minds, that either some people would choose to wear them while others would not.
“For us to subject all of the citizens of Birmingham to enhanced interaction with law enforcement and fines is absolutely ridiculous,” Williams said.
The ordinance has been in effect since May 1 and was put into place in an effort to keep people safe and slow the spread of COVID-19. As of Tuesday, there have been 2,131 coronavirus cases recorded in Jefferson County since the start of the pandemic in late March, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. There have also been 110 deaths connected to the virus in the county.
Councilor Steven Hoyt of District 8 disagreed with Williams, saying that there were many people in the community who were at risk to getting the virus and that wearing masks could limit their exposure.
“I’m really appalled and a bit sideways that you would be so adamant about not wearing a mask,” Hoyt said.
Williams, who had a face mask lowered down to his neck during the meeting, went on to say that he was still in favor of safety precautions and for people to choosing to wear masks if they wanted, but he was not sure how effective it would be to continue the ordinance.
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