Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Thursday she plans to lift the state’s COVID-19 mask order by April 9. Ivey cited reduction in COVID-19 case statewide; as of Tuesday, Alabama’s seven-day average for new COVID-19 cases was 778 per day, an 82% drop from the high reached Jan. 10 and the lowest average for daily new cases since late June. Ivey also said that COVID-19 hospital rates had similarly declined.
Ivey said that the state needed to get past Easter and allow more Alabamans to get their first vaccine dose before lifting mask orders, adding at a press conference, “There’s no question that wearing masks has been one of our greatest tools in preventing the spread of the virus. Even when we lift the mask order, I will continue to wear my mask when I’m around others and strongly urge my fellow citizens to use common sense and do the same thing, but at that time it will become a matter of personal responsibility and not government mandate.”
Ivey made the announcement while also extending the state’s “Safer at Home Order” until May 7, which urges residents to minimize travel outside the home and follow other federal COVID-19 health guidelines. However she eased other COVID-19 restrictions, including a change to allow outdoor programs in senior centers to resume with new safety guidelines, as well as allowing summer camps to open, permitting restaurants seat patrons closer than 6 feet if they are separated by partitions, and raising the maximum number of visitors from one to two at nursing homes and hospitals.