BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham city leaders have extended the city’s mask ordinance through May 24, even though the statewide mandate will expire Friday.
The decision was made during the Birmingham City Council meeting Tuesday morning in an 8-1 vote. Councilor Hunter Williams was the dissenting vote on the issue.
City leaders say the decision was made based on the current Covid-19 infection rate. Many communities and health leaders acknowledge Covid-19 cases have come down, but say residents should remain vigilant to prevent another wave of infections.
Currently, Jefferson County is averaging about 70 new cases of Covid-19 each day, health officials report. Some city leaders are proposing to keep that number down residents should continue wearing masks. David Hicks with the Jefferson County Health Department said the public is going to have to take personal responsibility for their health once the state mask mandate expires.
In addition, Hicks said many businesses have reached out to them concerned that they are not going to be able to protect their workers and those who support them. Hicks says things have turned around locally, but believes having extra measures in place like a city-wide mask ordinance in Birmingham will help things until we are out of the pandemic.
“Birmingham has one of–if not the lowest rates–of new cases in the past few weeks than almost any location in our county and I think the masks and the people of Birmingham wearing the masks is likely to explain at least part of why Birmingham’s numbers have been so great,” Hicks said.
Hicks said it will likely be this summer when more people are fully vaccinated we will move closer to herd immunity. In the meantime, he is encouraging people to continue wearing masks and get vaccinated.