US Alabama governor says she won't extend mask mandate past April 9
Mississippi Mayor Calls Out Governor for Putting Lives 'in Jeopardy' by Lifting Mask Mandate
"It is against the advice of our health experts, and it is premature," Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said.Reeves, a Republican, made the announcement with the signing of an executive order on Tuesday. The mandate will be lifted as of 5 p.m. on Wednesday, but the governor said Mississippi residents were still encouraged to wear the face coverings. Indoor businesses will still be restricted to operating at 50 percent capacity, masks will remain required in K-12 schools and municipalities are free to maintain their own local mask mandates.
Alabama's statewide mask mandate to curbis being extended to April 9 -- but it won't be extended after that, Gov. Kay Ivey said Thursday.
Ivey's remark came as she announced that the state's broader "Safer at Home" order, which includes the mask mandate and other measures, would be extended until the evening of April 9 instead of expiring Monday, as previously scheduled.
Alabama extends mask mandate 1 month, bucking other GOP-led states
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) said Thursday she will extend her state's mask mandate for another month, a contrast with decisions from governors in Texas and Mississippi to lift orders.Ivey noted that coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have fallen but said the time is not yet right to lift the mask order."Even with this positive news, Dr. Harris & I believe more Alabamians need to get their 1st shot before we take a step some other states have taken to remove the mask order altogether & lift all restrictions," she wrote on Twitter, referring to state health officer Scott Harris. "Folks, we're not there yet, but we're getting close.
Ivey said this will be the last time she's extending the masking portion of the order. After April 9, Alabama will joinin not having a statewide face-covering mandate.
"While I'm convinced that a mask mandate has been the right thing to do, I also respect those who object and believe this was a step too far in government overreach," Ivey said at a news conference in Montgomery.
Alabama is just the latest state to make major announcements about masks this week. Texas and Mississippi announced Tuesday they were abandoning statewide or county-level mask mandates. Additionally,said they were allowing businesses to operate at 100% capacity.
Video: Alabama's governor says state will soon join others in lifting mask mandate against CDC guidelines (CNN)
GOP West Virginia Governor Suggests Abbott Trying to Do 'Macho Thing' by Lifting Mask Mandates
"We're going to do the smart thing in West Virginia," Governor Jim Justice said, noting that he'd continue to follow the advice of experts.Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves, both Republicans, announced on Tuesday that they would be lifting their statewide mask mandates. Abbott's new executive order will end the mask mandate next week and will allow all businesses across Texas to be open at 100 percent capacity. Reeves issued a similar new executive order on Tuesday, with his state's mask mandate ending on Wednesday of this week. The decisions drew significant criticism from health experts, lawmakers and the White House.
Ivey said masks have been the greatest tool in combating the virus. However, she said it was time to make this a personal responsibility rather than a government mandate.
Ivey, who said she will continue to wear a mask in public, urged businesses to decide what their own masking policies will be after April 9.
Covid-19 case and hospitalization counts have dropped in Alabama and in the country as a whole since January. Alabama averaged 990 new cases a day over the last week -- down from a peak average of 4,280 on January 10, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
The state had 559 Covid-19 patients in hospitals on Wednesday -- well below its highest count of the pandemic -- 3,088 -- on January 11, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.
But many public health leaders across the US havebefore easing safety measures like mask mandates, pointing to an increasing spread of more-transmissible variants that could spark another surge in cases.
Which States Have Lifted Mask Mandates?
Local mask mandates are in effect in some areas, while some states such as Texas and Mississippi have abandoned these guidelines.Texas Gov. Greg Abbott lifted the statewide mask mandate under a new executive order that comes into effect on Wednesday, March 10.
"If we can just hang on (while more people are vaccinated), it would make a huge difference. So it's very disappointing that we're just going to rip off masks at this point," Dr. Peter Hotez, co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital, told CNN on Thursday about Texas' moves, before Ivey made her announcement for Alabama.
Alabama's mask mandate generally requires people to wear face coverings in public when within 6 feet of another person not from the same household.
The broader "Safer at Home" order alsoand generally . The latest extension eliminates party-size limits at restaurant tables, but mandates partitions or 6 feet of space between tables.
Texas Official Sees No Reason for State Removing Mask Mandate to Claim 'Premature Victory' .
"There's no reason why to open ourselves up to unnecessary death, unnecessary hospitalization, just for the sake of wanting to claim a premature victory," Judge Lina Hidalgo said."There's no reason why to open ourselves up to unnecessary death, unnecessary hospitalization, just for the sake of wanting to claim a premature victory," Hidalgo told host Lisa Desjardins on the PBS NewsHour.