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Alabama mandatory mask mandate has expired

As of April 9, Alabama's statewide mask mandate has expired.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Governor Kay Ivey on Wednesday issued her 26th supplemental emergency proclamation transitioning the state from an amended Safer at Home Order to a new, "Safer Apart Order," the third phase of COVID-19 pandemic health orders.

As Alabama shifts to the Safer Apart Order, Gov. Ivey says she is putting the responsibility on Alabamians to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

"After a year of having Dr. Harris and me stand up here extending the mandate, it's just the right thing to do," said Gov. Ivey. "To practice personal responsibility and make the choice to protect yourself and others."

Masks will no longer be mandated statewide, but individuals are strongly encouraged to wear a mask or other facial covering when in public and in close contact with other people. This order went into effect at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 9, 2021, and extends until 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 5, 2021.

Gov. Ivey said, "I will continue to wear my mask around others and will strongly urge my fellow citizens to use common sense."

Gov. Ivey made the decision as the state has seen a consistent downward trend in COVID cases and hospitalizations.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said, "We're very glad we finally reached this point. You know, this past week is the first time we've been below a five percent test positivity rate ever since this began."

Although the new order urges personal responsibility, there are some restrictions that will remain in place. The order notes people must continue to quarantine when sick with COVID-19. Hospital patients are still allowed up to two visitors.

This ease on restrictions comes as vaccine distribution ramps up in the state. Alabama now has COVID-19 vaccines available at over 700 locations.

"This week, we've had more doses than we've ever had before," said Dr. Harris.

Now that everyone sixteen and older is eligible to get the vaccine in Alabama, Gov. Ivey is encouraging people to get the shot as soon as possible. 

You can view Governor Kay Ivey's Safer Apart Order here.

RELATED: COVID numbers and who's eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Alabama?