Miranda Prescott, News Editor
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced in a press conference on Thursday that the current mask ordinance in the state would be extended through Friday, Dec. 11. This order was set to expire on Sunday, Nov. 8.
“I must admit, when we issued that first state of emergency back in March, most of us had hoped that we would be having to worry about COVID in November,” said Ivey. “Yet, here we are, eight months later, and our state, our nation and our world is still grappling with how to keep you safe, but at the same time adhering to those who have jobs can keep on working and those businesses that have been sidelined can get back to work sooner rather than later.”
Ivey said that the disease has disrupted the daily lives of those who live in the state in significant ways, explaining that more than 3,000 Alabamians have died from “this deadly virus.”
“While obviously some folks are more susceptible to COVID-19 than others are due to age and preexisting conditions, no one is immune, as we are all capable of contracting this virus,” said Ivey.
Ivey cites the current flu season for being the reason behind this decision, saying that this season alongside COVID-19 is a “deadly mix.” She also tells the people of Alabama that they are listening to them and taking their concerns into consideration.
“Sooner rather than later, the people of Alabama will be allowed to make the decision for themselves whether they wear the masks or not,” she said.
Ivey also announced that there would be some relaxations for the order, as businesses are now allowed to return to normal occupancy rates, so long as they continue to abide by sanitation and social distancing protocols provided by the Center for Disease Control.
“Simply put, this should be welcomed news as we get ready for the upcoming holiday season, which is often the bread and butter for retail, and especially for our locally owned small businesses,” she said. “You cannot have a life without a livelihood.”
Scott Harris, the state’s health officer, said the state is around 200,000 positive cases of the virus in Alabama, which is approximately four percent of the state’s total population. He also said that the positive case rate is approximately 10 percent of all cases.
Currently, there are 17 active cases at Jacksonville State, based on JSU’s COVID dashboard. There have been 383 positive cases over the past two weeks in Calhoun County, and 38 are currently hospitalized in the county with COVID-19.
Ivey also discussed the events of the recent election, saying that Americans turned out “in record numbers” to cast their votes.
“This expression of freedom and personal responsibility is a hallmark that distinguishes the United States from many other countries around the world,” she said.
She asks the people of the state to look for opportunities to bring our country together moving forward to bring them back together. This includes “finding common ground” and “meeting people in the middle,” according to Ivey.
“This does not mean that you have to compromise your values or your morals.” she said. “But the bottom line is that we’ve got too many big things to do here in the coming weeks that does not need to get sidetracked. The sooner that we can start coming back together, the quicker our country will get back on the path that it was on before COVID-19.”