MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. – Cities and counties across Alabama are discussing and proposing new mandatory mask use ordinances as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Marshall County is a hotspot for the state. More than 1,500 residents have tested positive and ten people have died.
Wearing a mask is mandatory inside the Marshall County courthouses, but not everywhere in the county.
“It’s a personal choice right now. It’s an option. You can’t make people wear a mask,” said Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims.
“I strongly believe in masks. I think they’re very productive as far as keeping down the virus,” said Marshall County Commission Chairman James Hutcheson.
Hutcheson told WHNT News 19 the commission has not discussed putting a madnatory mask use ordinance in place.
He said the Governor should be the one to make that decision, not county leaders.
He and Sims said if issued, enforcement would be difficult.
“You can’t lock up the whole county. You can’t issue citations to a large volume of people. I just don’t see how you can enforce it,” explained Sims.
“I think you need a statewide ordinance if you’re going to make it very effective because people are so mobile now that they go from here to Huntsville to Dekalb County in 15 minutes. It’d be hard to control it,” added Hutcheson.
Marshall County is seeing one of the largest spikes in positive cases.
“I’ve been very, very concerned for months, since we started this. This is a serious, very serious virus and I don’t want to get it or anyone in my family or anybody else to get it,” said Hutcheson.
“Our cases are rising and this is a new thing we’ve had to deal with the last several months and I think we just need to take a few extra precautions. If wearing a mask is all we have to do, then I’d encourage our people here to wear a mask,” said Sims.
Sims said right now, it is personal responsibility to keep yourself and others safe.
Hutcheson in order for an ordinance to be passed, a commissioner must make a motion to discuss and vote, it must have a second, and then three commissioners would need to approve it.
During Governor Kay Ivey’s announcement to extended the amended safer at home order, she said she is not going to make mask use mandatory statewide and continue to rely on personal responsibility.