Alabama Mask Mandate Expiring

By Lindsay Martin
Staff Writer

TUSCALOOSA, AL—  Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has announced an extension to the state’s mask mandate. The extension was said to be the final mask mandate and will expire on April 9.

Major cities across Alabama have shown a decrease in cases over the past few months. Tuscaloosa reported a 45 percent decrease in average daily cases from two weeks ago.

Some feel that the mask mandate expiration will hinder the progress. University of Alabama Senior Alexa Noles does not agree with the mask mandate ending.

“I don’t feel safe without a mask,” Noles said. “I’ve gotten so used to it that it’s like a corona shield. I think the cases will rise once it goes away.”

Tuscaloosa is set to return back to normal operations after a year of restrictions. The COVID-19 Incident Commander Cheif Smith said the city will proceed with caution.

“We’re pleased with how the numbers have been trending and hope that people continue to take COVID-19 seriously and follow the recommendation of public health officials,” Smith said. “As we have for the last year, Incident Command and the City of Tuscaloosa are prepared to respond to whatever needs arise.”

The University of Alabama’s main campus in Tuscaloosa made the national news last fall due to a high amount of student cases. UA announced more than 1,000 students tested positive for coronavirus in the first week of classes.

UA does not plan on lifting the school’s mask requirement on campus, according to Deidre Stalnaker, University of Alabama director of communications.

“The diligence of our students, faculty, and staff in following all of our health and safety guidelines is one of the primary reasons COVID numbers have declined so dramatically,” Stalnaker said. “We appreciate the care everyone in our UA community is showing for one another. There is no change in mask policy at this time.”