Birmingham businesses can now lift mask requirements as city lets mask ordinance expire

Many choosing to wear masks even when they aren't required
Many choosing to wear masks even when they aren't required(WBTV)
Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 6:19 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Birmingham businesses will soon be able to lift their mask requirements. The city council voted to not extend the citywide mask ordinance.

City council President William Parker said it was the smartest decision following the CDC’s latest guidance for fully vaccinated people.

“There will always be people now who feel more comfortable in masks,” Birmingham Business Alliance CEO Ron Kitchens said. “Our members are mostly concerned about the people in the community who still don’t feel comfortable.”

After surveying hundreds of different businesses across the city this week, Kitchens said owners are split on ending mask requirements.

“1/3 said get rid of it,” Kitchens said. “And 1/3 said lets keep it a little while and 1/3 said whatever leadership decides, we support.”

Kitchens said many businesses plan to leave it up to the customer.

“They are going to support customers who want to wear the mask and they are going to support customers who don’t,” he said.

It won’t always be clear which businesses require masks now and which ones don’t.

“I think people are going to have to ask,” Kitchens said. “If you see the sign, clearly that business has made a commitment.”

Kitchens said many business owners are overwhelmed by the new guidelines and there’s more to make decisions on besides just masking.

“What are those rules on how much are we going to distance on tables at restaurants,” he said. “Those are the things we will see controversy over.”

Whether masks are required or not at certain businesses, Kitchens said there will be a revitalization of Birmingham businesses.

“There is going to be a mass movement of businesses thriving,” he said.

Parker said the city did not end the ordinance, they are just going to let it expire. It is set to expire on Monday, May 24th.

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