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Alabama mask mandate, Safer at Home order extended: what this means for you

Governor Kay Ivey announced an extension to the Safer at Home order and mask mandate, with a few changes.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabamians will be wearing masks until at least November 8.

This is part of Governor Kay Ivey's extension of the Safer at Home order. Most people won't see any change to their daily lives. Masks are still required in public, including schools, for everyone ages 8 (second grade) or older when interacting within six feet of people from another household. There are limited exceptions for practical necessity, including exercising, eating, and drinking, and participating in constitutionally protected like voting and religious worship. In these circumstances, face coverings are still strongly encouraged.

The mask rules do apply to high school and college football games.

One change is in how hospital and nursing homes/long-term care facilities will handle visitors. Patients and residents will be allowed one caregiver or visitor at a time unless "there is are compelling reasons to limit access."

Effective October 2, 2020, all Hospitals and Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities) shall ensure that each patient or resident may be accompanied by one caregiver at a time (in the case of hospitals) or receive visits from one visitor at a time (in the case of nursing homes and long term care facilities), subject to reasonable restrictions imposed on the entrance of persons because of the COVID-19 county positivity rate, the facility’s COVID-19 status, a patient’s or resident’s COVID-19 status, caregiver/visitor symptoms, lack of adherence to proper infection control practices, or other relevant factors related to the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent with the following guidance from the federal government.

No new restrictions have been ordered.

RELATED: Governor Kay Ivey extends current safer-at-home order for another 5 weeks, through Nov. 8

Governor Ivey and State Health Officer Scott Harris largely credit the reduction percentage of positive COVID-19 tests, hospitalizations, and deaths to the public's cooperation with face covering rules.

As of August 31, "Such establishments operating buffets, salad bars, and self-serve drink stations shall (i) ensure that at least one employee’s duties include maintaining six feet of distance among customers using the buffet, salad bar, or self-serve drink station and (ii) provide hand sanitizer and encourage customers to apply it before using the buffet, salad bar, or self-serve drink station."

This is a change from the July 29 order, which said that, "Such establishments shall disallow self-service by guests at drink stations, buffets, or salad bars."

Click here for state Guidelines for Restaurants and Bars.

The section dealing with "restaurants and similar establishments" also adds "cafeterias operated by educational institutions to this rule: "Hospital food service areas and cafeterias operated by an educational institution described in paragraph 14 are excluded from this paragraph provided they have their own social distancing plan."

Restrictions on occupancy and social distancing requirements are still in place, as is the rule that, "Each employee shall wear a mask or other facial covering that covers his or her nostrils and mouth at all times while in regular interaction with patrons or guests."

Governor Ivey also extended the state's Public Health Emergency to November 8, 2020. It was set to expire on Sept. 9.

RELATED: Does a face mask protect me, or just the people around me?


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RELATED: Governor Kay Ivey extends Alabama mask mandate

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