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Mask ordinance unlikely in Dothan and most other Alabama cities

Even though COVID-19 number continue to soar, only a few local governments make face coverings mandatory
A state inspection report says a nursing assistant who worked while sick may have introduced the coronavirus into an Iowa nursing home where fifteen residents died.
A state inspection report says a nursing assistant who worked while sick may have introduced the coronavirus into an Iowa nursing home where fifteen residents died.((Source: MGN image))
Published: Jun. 29, 2020 at 1:53 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -Governor Kay Ivey won't make face coverings mandatory, though some Alabama cities have taken that action in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“Governor Ivey respects the individual choice of citizens to wear a mask or not, just as she respects that of businesses or local entities to require it,” Ivey’s Press Secretary Gina Maiola told WTVY in an email.

Montgomery and Birmingham, believing the pandemic is out of control, have passed ordinances requiring face masks be worn in pubic. So, has all of Jefferson County.

Mobile, Decatur, and Tuscaloosa are among municipalities considering similar action. Most local governments, though, are reluctant.

In Dothan, Mayor Mark Saliba said he plans to contact commissioners by week's end to gauge interest in an ordinance more stringent than state regulations. There doesn't seem to be much.

Only Commissioner Kevin Dorsey said he would consider making coverings mandatory, though he would want to review any proposal closely before voting for it.

Commissioners John Ferguson, Beth Kenward, David Crutchfield, Janasky Fleming, and Albert Kirkland say they do not support an ordinance more stringent that voluntary state guidelines.

“I don’t think that any of us would like Dothan to be more restrictive than what the state recommends. Our police force needs to be focused on larger matters at hand than ticketing people for not wearing masks,” Kenward said in an text message to WTVY.

In Ozark, Mayor Bob Bunting on Monday encouraged businesses, including restaurants, to post signage urging the use of masks, though he did not suggest plans to make them mandatory.

Meanwhile, Ivey will announce this week whether she will extend her Safer at Home Order that, among other things, limits capacity at retailers and restaurants. Her order expires Friday though many believe she will extend it.

In Alabama, there have been over 36,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, more than 10,000 of them in the past two weeks.

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