MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - An executive order mandating face masks in the City of Montgomery went into effect at 5 p.m. Friday.
Here are the key things to know:
- Face coverings or masks are required in public places in Montgomery where there are 10 or more people.
- It applies to employees, customers and clients of businesses.
- It applies to all people over the age of 2 who can medically tolerate it.
- Must be worn in outdoor spaces where there are 10 or more people within 6 feet of one another.
Some of the situations where a face covering isn’t required:
- When outdoors if there are less than 10 people and they are at least 6 feet apart.
- Inside your home.
- In a vehicle.
- During individual outdoor exercise.
- When eating or drinking at a restaurant. (A face covering must be worn when entering and exiting the establishment)
Failure to comply is punishable by a fine of $25.
Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed spoke to WSFA 12 News Friday. He said the executive order was something he had always considered doing to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
Montgomery has been identified as a hotspot for the virus. As of Friday, Montgomery County had 3,106 total cases - the most in the state. A total of 75 people have died from the virus in Montgomery.
On Tuesday, the Montgomery City Council failed to pass an ordinance requiring masks. The mayor stepped in with an executive order the next day.
“My prayer was that I wouldn’t have to do it and the council would see the need and would see the urgency in signing a facial cover ordinance or something that we could do enforce, some version of that,” Reed said.
Reed said the order was his backup to ensure the city could have some regulation and could slow the spread of the virus.
When asked whether he thought the idea of not wearing a mask was selfish, Reed said we must think about others and how wearing a mask may impact them.
“We have to consider those front line workers that also have lives and also have families, and the amount of people they’re exposed to,” Reed said.
Reed suggests considering a mask to be a “temporary inconvenience.”
“This is not something that we want to keep in place forever, but we have to see our COVID numbers come down and we want to see those hospitalization rates change, so that we can get off the national hot spot list, and we can get our economy back,” Reed added.
Reed also reminded the public that Dr. Bill Saliski said wearing a mask could reduce transmission by up to 95 percent. Saliski is a pulmonary and critical care doctor in Montgomery.
“That’s pretty, you know, significant evidence. And I think coming from the doctors, coming from the medical community, it is one that we should all take heed to,” Reed added.