The Madison County Board of Health, which makes recommendations to the Alabama Department of Public Health, has drafted a proposal that would require face coverings to be worn in public places.
While this is just a proposal, it’s the first we’ve seen in writing about mandatory masking in Madison County. It’s not currently clear if or when the proposal would be sent to State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.
For it to go into effect, the proposal would need to be approved by Harris, and he has not seen it yet. Officials say they don’t expect for Harris to approve it, if he does, until sometime next week or after the Fourth of July holiday weekend.
The proposal would apply to the entire county. It says there is “widespread community spread” of coronavirus and a rising number of hospitalizations related to coronavirus.
“The Madison County Board of Health believes that a face covering ordinance applicable county-wide would be in the best interest of the public health of Madison County,” the proposal says.
It goes on to say that the board has the authority to institute immediate measures to prevent the spread of “notifiable diseases,” and it believes that a face covering ordinance qualifies.
If approved, this would require masks to be worn in public places, including indoor spaces of businesses or venues that are open to the general public like stores and restaurants, transportation services like buses and taxis and outdoor areas where ten or more people are gathered and cannot maintain social distancing.
All businesses and venues open to the general public would be required to post a notice at all public entrances, saying that face coverings are required.
Exceptions to having to wear a mask would include children ages two or younger, eating or drinking, medical examinations or procedures when the mouth or nasal area is being examined, for customers during haircare services, personal safety like if it poses a threat to mental or physical health, places of worship, if the covering would prevent effective communication for people who are hearing-impaired or for someone speaking to a large group and keeping social distance, indoor athletic facilities and private clubs or gatherings that are not open to the public and follow social distancing.