Shoals mayors discuss enforcement of mandatory mask order

The mask order goes into effect July 16th.

Posted: Jul 15, 2020 9:03 PM

Wednesday, Gov. Kay Ivey issued a mandatory mask order across the state.

Alabama's coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rise rapidly and have risen the highest over the last two weeks according to the state.

There are some exceptions to wearing a mask in public. For instance, a child under the age of six doesn't have to wear a mask in public, if your speaking to an audience you don't have to wear a mask, if your working out you don't have to wear a mask as long as your socially distanced. Other exceptions are listed here.

"There are some other more restrictive options we could take like closing things back down but I don't want to go there unless there are absolutely no other options available," said Ivey.

Ivey made it clear that this statewide mask ordinance is a must-have to protect public safety and the economy.

"To keep our businesses open and our economy on the way to recovery it's vitally important that our people continue to earn a paycheck. You cannot work if you are not healthy," said Ivey.

Businesses can refuse access to people who try to come in without a mask. You can also face a $500 fine and jail time.

"We are not asking our sheriffs and police officers to go out looking for people who aren't wearing a mask and arrest them but we are asking everyone to a better job social distancing, personal hygiene, and now face masks," said Ivey.

State health officer Scott Harris said with no vaccine or treatment and ICU beds filling up, this is one of the only options to save lives.

"People will certainly be upset about being told to do anything but this is a health order that protects the people around you and keeps other people safe," said Harris.

The mask order officially starts July 16th at 5 pm and lasts until July 31st, when the current safer at home order expires. The governor said she maintains the right to extend the mask order if coronavirus cases continue to climb.

Florence Mayor Steve Holt, and Muscle Shoals Mayor David Bradford said their first focus is equipping police officers with educational tools on the ordinance and possibly masks to give people breaking the ordinance.

"If an officer walks up to someone who doesn't have on a mask and asks them to please put on a mask and that person says I don't have a mask then were going to be in the position of providing a mask," said Holt.

Holt told me his officers have a good supply of masks and are looking at ordering more to put in patrol officers cars.

"That's another expense and another responsibility for an officer to have some in his or her vehicle," said Holt.

Mayors in the Shoals, including Holt, worry it will be hard to enforce the ordinance.

"We have officer turn over so always per shift were short a couple of officers and to put this on top of them will be virtually impossible to enforce," said Holt.

He's still holding out hopes that people will do the right thing and be cool with wearing the masks.

"Is it going to be that tough? I hope not. This is a chance to exercise not only your self control but your self respect," said Holt.

Despite the city of Florence not issuing a mask order, Holt said he agrees with the governors mask order.

"It was a good decision on her part and I'm glad she didn't make the move to close down our businesses because we cannot go through that again," said Holt.

Some people in Florence said the mask ordinance should have been done a long time ago. No city council's in the Shoals issued any mask ordinances prior to the mask order.

"It should have been done several months ago we would have a lot less virus going around. People don't care unless they are mandated to do something and still some will decline it and not do it," said Florence citizen, Ralph Latham.

The mayors in Sheffield (Ian Sanford), Tuscumbia (Kerry Underwood), and Muscle Shoals all shared concerns over stretching police departments thin in trying to enforce the mask order, and they have concerns people could become confrontational if asked to wear a mask.

Russellville Mayor David Grissom said he hopes the governor's mask ordinance shows people how seriously they must take coronavirus.

Huntsville
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 70°
Florence
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Fayetteville
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Decatur
Overcast
69° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 69°
Scottsboro
Overcast
68° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 68°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 159439

Reported Deaths: 2699
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23443377
Mobile16934315
Tuscaloosa10414140
Montgomery10298197
Madison939496
Shelby743663
Baldwin669469
Lee655065
Calhoun462161
Marshall441150
Etowah431251
Morgan418235
Houston418034
DeKalb346129
Elmore322753
St. Clair299942
Limestone289330
Walker282392
Talladega267435
Cullman250824
Lauderdale231342
Jackson217515
Autauga207431
Franklin206131
Colbert204132
Russell19533
Blount194225
Chilton189332
Dallas187227
Coffee179511
Dale177251
Covington175529
Escambia173030
Clarke135317
Chambers135244
Pike134413
Tallapoosa133087
Marion109729
Barbour10339
Marengo102522
Butler101340
Winston93713
Geneva9167
Lawrence86132
Pickens86018
Bibb84314
Randolph82916
Hale77730
Clay74912
Washington74912
Cherokee74514
Henry7196
Lowndes71428
Bullock64917
Monroe64810
Crenshaw60930
Perry5936
Fayette58413
Cleburne5738
Wilcox57012
Conecuh56113
Macon53720
Lamar5065
Sumter47321
Choctaw39212
Greene34616
Coosa2053
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 249866

Reported Deaths: 3163
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby36685565
Davidson31975343
Knox1284891
Rutherford12017115
Hamilton11867109
Williamson718756
Sumner6184112
Wilson473159
Putnam445657
Montgomery424057
Out of TN415136
Sullivan381946
Madison381479
Bradley361923
Washington356951
Maury338938
Blount337436
Sevier336423
Robertson262842
Hamblen247548
Tipton238123
Unassigned22615
Dyer224732
Gibson217244
Coffee192325
Hardeman190533
Greene181252
Obion179522
Trousdale17768
Bedford174520
Dickson170719
Fayette169825
Anderson169713
McMinn165937
Lawrence164520
Loudon164311
Cumberland161327
Wayne16047
Carter158334
Weakley157326
Jefferson156421
Monroe147228
Warren144910
Lauderdale144117
Henderson142126
Hardin140420
Macon134825
Roane13217
Franklin130220
Haywood129728
Overton122917
Hawkins122625
White119414
Johnson11577
Marshall115710
Carroll115326
McNairy113427
Rhea112418
Cocke108014
Cheatham106911
Campbell103512
Bledsoe10264
Smith99413
Lake9873
Giles98336
Fentress91811
Lincoln9173
Crockett87020
Hickman81015
Henry80211
Marion7839
DeKalb73717
Chester73314
Decatur66311
Grainger6124
Grundy57511
Union5463
Claiborne5286
Polk51713
Humphreys4584
Jackson4535
Morgan4437
Unicoi4333
Houston42317
Benton4219
Cannon4212
Lewis4185
Clay40615
Scott3865
Sequatchie3472
Stewart33611
Meigs3296
Perry3082
Pickett2748
Moore2722
Van Buren2081
Hancock1213

Community Events