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Shoals mayors discuss enforcement of mandatory mask order

The mask order goes into effect July 16th.

Posted: Jul 15, 2020 5:10 PM
Updated: Jul 15, 2020 9:03 PM

Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a mandatory mask order across the state.

Alabama's coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rise rapidly and have risen the highest over the last two weeks according to the state.

There are some exceptions to wearing a mask in public. For instance, a child under the age of six doesn't have to wear a mask in public, if your speaking to an audience you don't have to wear a mask, if your working out you don't have to wear a mask as long as your socially distanced. Other exceptions are listed here.

"There are some other more restrictive options we could take like closing things back down but I don't want to go there unless there are absolutely no other options available," said Ivey.

Ivey made it clear that this statewide mask ordinance is a must-have to protect public safety and the economy.

"To keep our businesses open and our economy on the way to recovery it's vitally important that our people continue to earn a paycheck. You cannot work if you are not healthy," said Ivey.

Businesses can refuse access to people who try to come in without a mask. You can also face a $500 fine and jail time.

"We are not asking our sheriffs and police officers to go out looking for people who aren't wearing a mask and arrest them but we are asking everyone to a better job social distancing, personal hygiene, and now face masks," said Ivey.

State health officer Scott Harris said with no vaccine or treatment and ICU beds filling up, this is one of the only options to save lives.

"People will certainly be upset about being told to do anything but this is a health order that protects the people around you and keeps other people safe," said Harris.

The mask order officially starts July 16th at 5 pm and lasts until July 31st, when the current safer at home order expires. The governor said she maintains the right to extend the mask order if coronavirus cases continue to climb.

Florence Mayor Steve Holt, and Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford said their first focus is equipping police officers with educational tools on the ordinance and possibly masks to give people breaking the ordinance.

"If an officer walks up to someone who doesn't have on a mask and asks them to please put on a mask and that person says I don't have a mask then were going to be in the position of providing a mask," said Holt.

Holt told me his officers have a good supply of masks and are looking at ordering more to put in patrol officers cars.

"That's another expense and another responsibility for an officer to have some in his or her vehicle," said Holt.

Mayors in the Shoals, including Holt, worry it will be hard to enforce the ordinance.

"We have officer turn over so always per shift were short a couple of officers and to put this on top of them will be virtually impossible to enforce," said Holt.

He's still holding out hopes that people will do the right thing and be cool with wearing the masks.

"Is it going to be that tough? I hope not. This is a chance to exercise not only your self control but your self respect," said Holt.

Despite the city of Florence not issuing a mask order, Holt said he agrees with the governors mask order.

"It was a good decision on her part and I'm glad she didn't make the move to close down our businesses because we cannot go through that again," said Holt.

Some people in Florence said the mask ordinance should have been done a long time ago. No city council's in the Shoals issued any mask ordinances prior to the mask order.

"It should have been done several months ago we would have a lot less virus going around. People don't care unless they are mandated to do something and still some will decline it and not do it," said Florence citizen, Ralph Latham.

The mayors in Sheffield (Ian Sanford), Tuscumbia (Kerry Underwood), and Muscle Shoals all shared concerns over stretching police departments thin in trying to enforce the mask order, and they have concerns people could become confrontational if asked to wear a mask.

Russellville Mayor David Grissom said he hopes the governor's mask ordinance shows people how seriously they must take coronavirus.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 136055

Reported Deaths: 2364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19752350
Mobile13449292
Montgomery8852184
Tuscaloosa8654118
Madison792778
Shelby601349
Lee592760
Baldwin552650
Marshall396143
Calhoun353444
Etowah352145
Morgan331428
Houston292021
Elmore267348
DeKalb243221
St. Clair233036
Walker231984
Talladega217129
Limestone211920
Cullman190720
Dallas179126
Franklin178129
Autauga177325
Russell17633
Lauderdale172333
Colbert166626
Blount161715
Escambia161124
Chilton158830
Jackson158111
Covington140327
Dale139244
Coffee13596
Pike120510
Chambers116842
Tallapoosa116485
Clarke110016
Marion96829
Butler91339
Barbour8857
Winston74512
Marengo72420
Pickens66614
Bibb65610
Lowndes65427
Randolph65413
Hale64428
Geneva6344
Lawrence62123
Cherokee61213
Bullock60614
Monroe5908
Clay5878
Washington55913
Perry5416
Crenshaw54032
Conecuh53611
Wilcox53211
Henry5075
Macon48318
Fayette4628
Sumter43819
Cleburne3825
Lamar3702
Choctaw35112
Greene30315
Coosa1723
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 192995

Reported Deaths: 2377
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30953459
Davidson26630306
Hamilton951995
Knox949779
Rutherford936189
Williamson531036
Sumner486598
Wilson351945
Putnam334940
Montgomery311144
Unassigned30425
Out of TN298627
Bradley296217
Madison292164
Sevier263815
Blount253524
Maury240924
Washington232836
Robertson222535
Sullivan219733
Hamblen193926
Tipton183219
Gibson170423
Trousdale16667
Hardeman158226
Wayne14995
Dyer138714
Bedford136417
Dickson127415
Coffee125413
Cumberland121718
Weakley120519
Fayette120419
Anderson120013
Obion119110
Henderson118924
Loudon11846
Carter117728
Greene116144
McMinn114625
Jefferson113014
Warren10757
Lawrence106713
Macon106721
Monroe105218
Hardin104716
Lauderdale99416
Haywood99221
Franklin9899
Lake9252
Roane9055
Carroll89920
McNairy89618
Bledsoe8624
White8479
Rhea84412
Hawkins82218
Cheatham81510
Marshall7785
Overton7586
Cocke7549
Smith73111
Johnson7262
Chester64310
Giles63117
Henry6289
Lincoln6241
Hickman5938
DeKalb57014
Crockett54219
Marion5338
Decatur5307
Fentress5263
Campbell4544
Claiborne4425
Polk39910
Grainger3863
Union3642
Benton3379
Jackson3315
Morgan3203
Grundy3095
Cannon2920
Unicoi2891
Humphreys2583
Sequatchie2381
Clay2335
Meigs2283
Houston2243
Scott2172
Stewart2142
Lewis2041
Moore1791
Van Buren1660
Perry1530
Pickett1232
Hancock1083

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