Health and Science

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issues statewide mask order to curb coronavirus outbreak

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Key Points
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced a statewide mask order beginning Thursday that will be in effect until July 31.
  • There are exceptions for "practical necessities," such as for children who are 6 or under, eating and drinking, exercising, religious worship, speaking to an audience and voting.
  • The order comes after Alabama reported a record 40 new deaths Tuesday.
Then-Alabama Lieutenant Governor Kay Ivey speaks to a crowd before U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's speaks to workers and followers, at Thompson Tractor in Birmingham, Alabama March 9, 2012.
Marvin Gentry | Reuters

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday ordered people to wear masks to try to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

The order, which runs from Thursday through July 31, comes after Alabama reported a record 40 new deaths Tuesday.

Ivey's order requires people to wear a face covering outdoors or inside public places if they cannot maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from other people. The order also applies on public transportation or for groups of 10 or more gathered outside.

There are exceptions for "practical necessities," such as for children who are 6 or under, eating and drinking, exercising, religious worship, speaking to an audience and voting. People with certain medical conditions or disabilities are also exempt, according to the order. 

In a Twitter thread announcing the order, the Republican governor emphasized the importance of people taking personal responsibility to wear masks.

The order, while in effect, will replace any local rules on mask-wearing. Requiring masks was the only change the order mandated, Ivey said, meaning there have not been any changes to reopening procedures or limiting the size of gatherings.

Ivey's mandate follows a record increase of 67,400 new cases in the U.S. on Tuesday. At a press conference Tuesday evening, President Donald Trump attributed the surge on an increase in testing.

Alabama began reopening parts of the economy on April 30. Most of its economy has since reopened — including summer camps, movie theaters, gyms and restaurants — and the state allows nonwork gatherings of any size with social distancing.