BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson said he has signed a face covering ordinance for all of Jefferson County starting at 5:00 p.m. Monday, June 29.
The ordinance applies to general public indoor spaces and ride sharing.
The order, which applies to children and adults over the age of eight, will remain in place until Dr. Wilson feels it’s safe enough to remove the order.
Places of worship may use their own discretion.
Dr. Wilson said the order will not cover schools or day cares.
The order will not cover Birmingham, which has its own order, until that order expires.
Schools and businesses open to the public will have to download and print a notice of entry requiring face coverings.
WBRC FOX6 News asked the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office about enforcing the ordinance. Deputy Chief David Agee said, “We continue to work closely with the Health Department. From the very beginning our approach has been to gain voluntary compliance from citizens and businesses. So far most have complied without issue.”
Dr. Wilson said this is the best way to protect people from COVID-19. He said it’s science and it should not be a controversial topic.
Dr. Wilson said, “I’ve heard from people concerned about their personal liberty in wearing masks, I’ve also heard from people concerned their personal liberty is being violated by people they’re encountering in public by not wearing a mask.”
Dr Saag with UAB said, “Stop making wearing a mask a political statement for goodness’ sake.”
Dr. Saag said, “If we do nothing, the numbers will continue to go up. This virus is here and not going away.”
Two people spoke during a Friday news conference with Dr. Wilson and Dr. Saag. One woman, Cindy Whisenant, spoke of her 72-year-old aunt who is recovering from COVID-19 and her sister, a nurse, who was just diagnosed with COVID-19.
She said if you don’t think you know anyone who has COVID-19, think about the people you need to protect.
Johnjalene Woods, the second speaker, has lost three family members from COVID-19. She also had the virus, along with several other family members who did survive.
Johnjalene Woods said it is insulting her, a survivor who has lost loved ones, for people not to wear masks.