City of Madison will require masks at city hall, no plan for resident mask ordinance

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Alabama has seen more than 3,000 new COVID-19 cases since Monday.

State figures show that’s 11 percent of all the cases in the state since mid-March. During Friday’s Huntsville-area COVID-19 briefing, officials cited the rising figures to again plead with the public to take the virus seriously.

The Alabama Department of Public Health is getting new assistance from the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC sent a risk communicator to help with messaging about the virus and what the public can do.

There aren’t known workplace or nursing home hotspots in Madison County, according to Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH. People are believed to be contracting the virus from people they’re around in public, from not social distancing or wearing a mask and it’s spreading.

Alabama had nearly 1,000 cases for the third day in a row Thursday. We also learned the Huntsville Hospital system has gone from 39 COVID-19 inpatients two weeks ago to 87 today.

The number of people who are in quarantine in Madison County has jumped more than 300 percent, from 85 two weeks ago to 375.

The City of Madison made masks mandatory in all city facilities on Thursday.

“We’re going to go to mandatory masking at the City of Madison, it’s started today,” said Madison Mayor Paul Finley. “A lot of it is because we need to take care of our own house. I want my employees to be safe. As you come into city hall, I don’t know where you’ve been. So, thus, let’s wear a mask.

“So a lot of why I feel like it’s important in the city of Madison to do that, you know we have businesses out there right now that have every ability to manage that same way. And we highly recommend that businesses do the same thing, because it could impact your bottom line.”

As far as city officials calling for a mask ordinance, Finley said they don’t know how they would enforce it. He said they’ve heard some strong public opposition to it.

When asked what the difference was between establishing a mask ordinance and existing public health measures like a smoking ban in public places or requiring drivers to wear seat belts, Finley said he didn’t have a good answer. He added officials are continuing to monitor the situation.

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