Miranda Prescott, News Editor
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced on Wednesday that the current “Amended Safer at Home” ordinance that requires mask-wearing in public would be extended until Nov. 8.
“Now I know that there are many people throughout this state that had hoped that we would follow the lead of some other states who have removed the mask order,” said Ivey on Wednesday. “We’ve heard from a lot of you, and I hear you. But I look forward to being able to lift the mask order as much as you do, and hopefully that can be sooner, not later.”
She also asks those who are tired of the mask mandate to “please, please be patient.”
Ivey explained that the reason they are extending this order until after the November election is because it is important to have a safe environment for those working the polls and those “who would like to vote in person.”
“Remember that voting in a free and open election is what separates America from many other countries,” she said. “It’s also our sacred duty to vote, and I want everyone to do it, and to do it safely.”
She also said that Alabama is making “real progress” and is thankful that the state did not have a surge of cases after the Labor Day holiday.
“The numbers are speaking for themselves,” she said.
Scott Harris, the state health officer, said that Alabama has had a lower average amount of deaths in September from the virus, explaining that the state has lost approximately 2,553 people to the virus that month. He also reports that the state has had a 7.1 percent positive case rate over the past week, which is “the lowest it has ever been.”
Ivey also announced an ease of restrictions on hospitals and long-term living facilities, allowing one visitor or caretaker to be in the room with a patient at a time, unless there are compelling reasons to limit this access. She said that these health orders have never prevented someone from accompanying someone into the hospital.
“Unfortunately, there is much confusion over this and my office has heard too many reports of people that are being left without access to a caregiver,” she said.
Ivey began the press conference by offering her condolences to those affected by the recent hurricanes in South Alabama, offering her “prayers and thoughts as we move together through this crisis.”
“We have not forgotten you,” she said. “And we have certainly not forgotten the promises we have made to you and we are working hard to get those accomplished as fast as we can.”
Ivey offered a special thanks to the “thousands of lineman and power workers” who worked “around the clock” to restore the power to these areas. She said that lineman from Alabama and across 14 different states came to help in this area. This thanks also included the first responders that helped as well, calling them “our unsung heroes.”
“Make no mistake, Hurricane Sally was a monster storm,” said Ivey. “And our people that were impacted deserve the very best efforts that we can provide.”