Birmingham loosens face mask ordinance, makes exemptions for certain workplace situations

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — On Tuesday, the Birmingham City Council made changes to its ordinance that requires residents to wear face masks while out in public.

The updates loosen certain criteria that had been in the original ordinance. Specifically, they focus on requirements about wearing them in offices, job sites, children and daycare facilities. In addition, it gives parents and guardians of children under the age of 8 years old to choose whether or not to give them masks. 

For offices and work sites, the ordinance allows the following exceptions to wearing face masks:

  • Working on ladders or at height
  • Wearing other respiratory protection
  • Heavy physical exertion
  • Operating heavy equipment
  • Working in an environment where a face covering or mask hinders communications

“In such cases where there are exemptions, employers are encouraged to structure work to promote social distancing and limit close contact as much as possible,” a release from the city stated.

In addition, the ordinance specifies people do not need to wear a face covering while working alone in separate office spaces or in non-public workplaces where there is more than adequate social distancing, based on the size of and number of people in the space.

Exemptions identified in the original ordinance remain in place, including:

  • Exercise
  • People receiving medical or dental examinations
  • Physical and mental health and safety reasons

Pending an extension, the ordinance will be in effect through 11:59 p.m. May 15 unless the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic requires an extension.

Both the ordinance and a set of frequently asked questions may be reviewed at www.birminghamal.gov/coronavirus.


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