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State leaders respond to Gov. Ivey's mask mandate

There are some differences of opinion on the new mask mandate.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — State leaders are responding to Governor Kay Ivey's mask mandate set to take effect on July 16 at 5:00 p.m.

Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims shared this video talking about the mask ordinance and his department:

Facial coverings for individuals effective July 16, 2020 at 5:00 P.M.,

A message from Sheriff Phil Sims

Posted by Marshall County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, July 16, 2020

Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth on Wednesday released the following statement in response to  Gov. Kay Ivey’s latest public health order that implements a statewide face mask mandate for all residents and visitors.

RELATED: Alabama mask mandate: What does it mean for you?

His statement reads:

“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, I have encouraged all Alabamians to take the steps necessary to protect their own health and the health of others.

"Wearing a face mask and maintaining social distancing are among the best ways to slow the spread of COVID-19, and I have tried to set a public example in those regards.

"Issuing a statewide face mask mandate, however, is an overstep that infringes upon the property rights of business owners and the ability of individuals to make their own health decisions.

"In addition, it imposes a one-size-fits-all, big government requirement on counties that currently have low to moderate infection rates and little need for such a mandate.

"Masks should be worn to combat further outbreaks, and while I admire Gov. Ivey’s leadership and her on-going efforts, I also believe a statewide order is the wrong way to go about encouraging their use.”

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The Alabama Hospital Association, led by Dr. Don Williamson, released the following statement:

Alabama’s hospitals are grateful to Governor Kay Ivey and State Health officer Scott Harris for their leadership today in announcing a statewide mask order.  Hospitals across the state share their appreciation to our state’s leaders for highlighting the importance of the statewide mask ordinance in reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Don Williamson, MD, president of the Alabama Hospital Association, reiterated that Alabama continues to set record highs for increasing cases, hospitalizations and now deaths.  “Having a statewide order is a move that gives us the best hope of slowing down the spread of the virus and decreasing the stress on our hospitals and other healthcare providers.”

“We urge all Alabamians, young and old, to heed the new state directive and wear their masks,” Dr. Williamson added.  “Coupled with social distancing and hand washing, wearing a mask is critical in preventing the virus from worsening.” 

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Senator Doug Jones (D) said this in response to the mask mandate:

“Governor Ivey did the right thing today by enacting a statewide mask policy. Unlike her counterparts in other Deep South states, Governor Ivey is clearly following the advice of health care professionals. Many Alabama communities in COVID-19 hotspots have already taken this step, which will help limit the spread of this virus and reduce the strain on our struggling hospitals and health care workers, and it just makes sense to do it on a statewide basis,” said Senator Jones, a member of the Senate Health Committee. “We all want to move past this deadly, disruptive pandemic. By taking the simple steps of wearing a mask and social distancing, we can each do our part to protect lives and livelihoods.” 

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