“We need to do all we can to limit the spread of COVID-19,” State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “Until we have a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19, wearing a face covering in public is a key measure we have available to prevent transmission of the virus.”
State health officials say this order has the unanimous support of the Madison County Board of Health, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, Madison Mayor Paul Finley,and County Commission Chair Dale Strong.
“Since day one we as elected officials have said we would work to find the balance of personal versus economic health. While personal responsibility is still paramount, our dramatic rising numbers dictate this step be taken to continue to support all citizens’ safety,” Finley said.
Very different views on masks, but the big question on everyone’s mind is: what will be the consequences for not wearing one? “This isn’t about fining, enforcement, arresting anyone particularly for the ordinance.
That’s right, there’s no fine in the order for not wearing one. But Johnson with the Huntsville Police Department says they will still enforce the order on a case by case situation.
“If you have problems with anxiety and then you’re in the hospital and can’t have a lot of visitors, and you have to wear an oxygen mask or oxygen tubing in your nose. These can be equally challenging,” Landers said.
Landers says you don’t have to have a doctors note with you, and that it’s up to law enforcement on how they want to handle a complaint. Lt. Johnson also says officers will have masks available to hand out to people.
- Indoor spaces of businesses or venues open to the public, including stores, bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, public meeting spaces or government buildings.
- Transportation services available to the public, including mass transit, paratransit, taxi or ride-sharing services.
- Outdoor areas open to the public where 10 or more persons are gathered and where people are unable to maintain a distance of 6 or more feet between persons not from the same household.
- Children age 2 and under.
- Persons while eating or drinking.
- Patients in examination rooms of medical offices, dental offices, clinics or hospitals where there examination of the mouth or nasal area is necessary.
- Customers receiving hair care services, temporary removal of face coverings when needed to provide hair care.
- Occasions when wearing a face covering poses a significant mental or physical health, safety or security risk. These include worksite risks.
- Although not mandated, face coverings are strongly recommended for congregants at worship services and for situations where people from different households are unable to or unlikely to maintain a distance of 6 feet from each other.
- When effective communication is needed for hearing-impaired persons and those speaking to a large group of people, provided the speaker can stay at least 6 feet away from other persons.
- Indoor athletic facilities. Patrons are not required to wear face coverings while actively participating in permitted athletic activities, but employees in regular interaction with patrons are required to wear face coverings or masks.
- Private clubs and gatherings not open to the public and where a consistent 6-foot distance between persons from different households is maintained.
Parents, guardians and caregivers must ensure the proper masking of children over age 2 in public places, ensure face coverings do not pose a choking hazard for children and can be worn safely without obstructing a child’s ability to breathe.
The Alabama Department of Public Health defines a face covering as a device to cover the nose and mouth of a person to impede the spread of saliva or other fluids during speaking, coughing, sneezing, or other intentional or involuntary action. Medical-grade masks are not required. Coverings may be made from scarves, bandanas, or other fabrics.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds
- Social distance by staying 6 feet away from others
- Avoid people who are sick
- Stay home if you can; work remotely if possible
- Cover your mouth and nose with a face covering when around others
- Cover coughs and sneezes
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
- Monitor your health