DECATUR, Ala. – The City of Decatur’s new mask ordinance went into effect at 5 p.m. on Monday, meaning facial coverings are no longer a health order, or a recommendation, masks will now be required by law. Morgan County recorded a 21% increase in COVID-19 positive cases just over the last week.
The ordinance requires you to wear a face mask in public spaces, on public transportation and at outdoor venues where social distance can’t be maintained.
There are exceptions to the ordinance, including if you’re eating or drinking, at places of worship, if you have a mental or physical condition, or to ensure communication with people who are hearing impaired.
Businesses in downtown already have signs on their doors reminding customers to mask up before entering.
“I personally didn’t wear the mask until today or unless I was made to, to go into a business,” says Paula Campbell.
Paula Campbell wasn’t in favor of the ordinance, but she says she can see why it is necessary.
“I will comply with it and I do feel like it’s wise for all of us especially with all the new things we are learning,” said Campbell.
Decatur Police Chief Nate Allen says enforcement of the mask ordinance is not to infringe upon anyone’s rights but to prioritize safety and save lives if possible. Resident Pamela Bolding says the ordinance was needed.
“It doesn’t bother me that its a law, because just reading a lot and listening to the news. Hopefully, we can flatten the curve by trying to do something protective,” said Bolding.
The city continues to urge businesses to get signs reminding customers that they must wear a mask to enter. A major argument against the ordinance is that it will hurt local businesses but Campbell says she will still shop local.
“Decatur is my community, and Morgan County and I want to support the businesses around here that have supported me,” says Campbell.
The first violation of this ordinance could result in a recorded warning. And after that, you could get a citation and a fine of up to $500.
Decatur police Chief Nate Allen says officers will have extra masks in their patrol cars to distribute.
Chief Allen went on to say he does not want you to sit outside of a store and call 911 about someone not wearing a mask.