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As Alabama case numbers increase, Birmingham’s mask ordinance remains in place

By Sidney Smith, COVID-19 Desk Editor

Birmingham City Council members voted Tuesday to extend the face mask ordinance, until July 3. The ordinance passed in a 7-1 vote.

Councilmember Hunter Williams was the only one on the panel to vote against extending the ordinance.

“I think that this is absolutely ridiculous that we are going to continue to mandate our citizens to wear face masks,” Williams said. “I think we’ve heard overwhelmingly from the business community that if a business wants to require their patrons to wear a face mask that they want the right to do so and not be told to do so.”

Williams went on to say he believed it was time to let the ordinance expire because it had “run it’s course”.

This was in direct contrast to the advice given by public health officials this week.

“COVID-19 spreads quickly, and your actions affect others. More than ever since the pandemic began, we need people to social distance, wear face coverings in public, and practice good respiratory hygiene,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris.

Alabama cases grew by 800 in a single day Thursday.

Councilmember Steven Hoyt said that the ordinance is important because it reminds people that wearing masks can save lives.

Outbreaks caused other counties like Montgomery and Mobile to also see a double-digit increase in daily case numbers.

Council member Steven Hoyt said that the ordinance is important because it reminds people that wearing masks can save lives.

“I’m really appalled,” Hoyt said. “It’s a bit sideways that you would be so adamant about not wearing a mask.”

Hoyt said Williams’ views concerned him.

Councilmember Williams mentioned widely while campaigning for his District 2 seat that he owns a business that provides medical support and surgical risk mitigation services to local hospitals.

“The numbers are going up, not going down,” Hoyt said of cases increasing locally since the state reopened businesses last month. “I don’t think it costs us anything to wear a mask.”

The face mask ordinance is set to expire on July 3.

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Made By Students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham