Businesses, community react to likely end of Madison County mask mandate

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala – There’s no shortage of opinions when it comes to the mask mandate. Some have wondered if Huntsville or other areas would implement one after the state mandate expires. According to Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle, it seems that won’t happen in the Rocket City.

“Last week she (Dr. Karen Landers) has indicated that they will go along with the governor’s mask ordinance. When the mask ordinance ends, it ends,” said Mayor Battle at Thursday’s council meeting.

Battle added that businesses can choose how they want to move forward beyond the end of the mask mandate.

Big box stores, to name a few, like Target, Best Buy, and Walgreens will still require masks. Small businesses like “In Bloom” on Clinton Row in Huntsville plan to take it one step at a time.

“We will look at the numbers. We will look at the new cases per day number. The hospitalization numbers. We will make our decision solely based on that,” said Ron Cooper the owner of In Bloom.

In Bloom, a multi-purpose flower shop adapted during the pandemic and actually expanded their store. Previously they focused on events and weddings. Now they have more retail options. Cooper says on occasion customers would be frustrated about wearing a mask in his shop.

“If COVID is gone and flu season surges, we do have a way to lower those numbers too. We’ve learned a lot from this,” said Cooper.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris says the masking decisions moving forward in communities will still be political and he’s aware of the mask fatigue. Which was evident at the Huntsville City Council meeting.

“It’s time that we just do something that gets us more inclusive of everyone and do something that is more loving for everyone.” said one anti-mask advocate.

“When you wear a mask and maybe you don’t sanitize it, you do get sick. I self-infected myself,” said another man who is against masking.

Dr. Harris says some communities should consider expanding local mandates.

“That’s a reasonable thing for those officials to consider and I’m sure some of them will,” said Dr. Harris.

If you live in the City of Madison, all indications are that Madison would do what Huntsville does. Meaning if Huntsville doesn’t go for a local mask mandate, Madison would avoid it too.

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