Alabama Gov. Kay IveyKay IveyDozens of Republican governors call for meeting with Biden on border surge President Biden's vaccination plan is constitutional — and necessary Teenage Alabama city councilman who voted against mask mandate tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R) extended the state’s mandatory mask order into 2021 amid a rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
The order, which was set to expire Friday at 5 p.m., will now remain in effect until Jan. 22, 2021.
Under the order, individuals are required to wear masks when in public or in close contact with other people.
Among the exceptions are children under the age of six years old, those who have medical conditions and those who are exercising, along with exceptions for essential job functions.
Ivey during a news conference on Wednesday said that the mask mandate is the one “stopgap” that has allowed the state to return to normal life despite the pandemic.
She noted that the state was able to loosen other coronavirus restrictions, such as gathering sizes and reduced occupancy rates, largely due to people wearing masks.
The extension comes the state hits a new high in the seven-day average of new cases, reporting 2,623, according to the Montgomery County Advertiser. The state also reported a record high of 2,097 hospitalizations as of Tuesday.
“These are some our darkest days since COVID-19 became a part of our daily conversations,” Ivey said. “And the rising number of new cases has put a strain on our health care system unlike any time in recent memory.”
Alabama has reported 280,187 coronavirus infections since the pandemic began, and 3,985 deaths.