If you live or work in Madison County, the new mandatory mask ordinance is now in effect.
Huntsville Police say while violating the ordinance could lead to a citation, officers are not trying to issue any. Instead, they say they want to take an educational approach, and will have masks readily available in their cars for anyone who needs one.
"To provide this order in order to protect our community and preserve the ability of our health care system to handle the patient load that is currently coming into our hospitals," said Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Landers says police officers can decide how to respond to someone violating the mask ordinance and it's at the individual officer's discretion on whether or not to take action.
"Any enforcement activity will be left up to the local law enforcement," said Landers.
Huntsville Police said if someone violates the ordinance, they could be issued a citation up to $500, but it's something they don't want to have to do.
"Would educate a person and provide them information about the fact that there is a health order in Madison County. Some people may not be aware, especially if they come from another county," said Landers.
Landers says people walking into a business without a mask aren't the only ones who would be violating the ordinance. A business owner who does not require customers to wear masks inside can be ticketed too.
"Businesses should follow the order of the health officer. They should follow the order for customers to wear the mask," said Landers.
The Madison County Sheriff's Office says violating the ordinance is an arrestable offense, but they don't plan on arresting people.
Instead they are also taking an educational approach. Officials with the Madison County Sheriff's Office say if they receive a call about someone not wearing a mask, they will evaluate the situation.
Madison Police told WAAY 31 that their chief sent out an email Tuesday morning reviewing the ordinance and how to respond to it. The department says it is also focusing on educating the public, rather than issuing tickets.