BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – As COVID-19 cases continue to rise throughout the state of Alabama, the Jefferson County Health Department is asking business owners to begin encouraging or enforcing the use of face masks.
Dr. Wilson at the Jefferson County Health Department says the use of face masks when in public spaces for the next month will help slow the spread of the virus and help alleviate the stress on local hospitals.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Jefferson County is averaging around 500 COVID cases per day and it’s causing a ripple effect on Alabama intensive care units as they reach their full compacity.
“We’re wanting more people to get vaccinated and that’s extremely important. But vaccines are going to take a while to kick in, so we need to take immediate action to do whatever we can to slow the spread of the virus so more people don’t get sick and we don’t put more pressure on our hospitals,” said Dr. Mark Wilson, with JCHD.
One Birmingham business is answering the call, requiring customers and staff to mask up.
“As the delta variant has proven to be so aggressive we have started to require them again for customers. Staff was always masked we never stopped. But now that it’s gotten so bad, we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to keep our community, customers, and staff as safe as possible,” said Camille Henry, owner of Crestwood Coffee Company.
Henry said she’s in favor of a citywide mask mandate as she’s seen firsthand how beneficial masks have been for her business and staff.
“I believe in the science. As an example, no one here got COVID while we’ve been masking, and no one’s had a cold so there’s does of evidence that masks and social distancing are effective. I chose to believe the CDC recommendations because they are the experts so we’re going to follow what they say we should do,” said Henry.
“I’m asking our business leaders, our local government officials for support to help encourage face mask use to help our community, to help our community get through this,” said Dr. Wilson.
Dr. Wilson added that there is plenty of vaccine supply is available throughout the county. Click here to schedule a vaccine appointment.