Alabama AG to Birmingham mayor: Reconsider your enforcement of face mask ordinance, mayor responds

Alabama AG to Birmingham mayor: Reconsider your enforcement of face mask ordinance, mayor responds
The Birmingham skyline.

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall sent a letter to Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin asking him to reconsider enforcing the new law regarding face coverings.

The law is set to go into effect Friday, May 1. The ordinance requires people within the city limits of Birmingham to wear masks/face coverings in public.

In the letter sent to Woodfin and the city, Marshall said “Over the past 48-hours, my Office’s COVID-19 Response Teams have been overwhelmed with calls related to the City’s ordinance requiring citizens to wear masks. I write to ask that you reconsider your intention to enforce the ordinance with fines or jail time.”

Marshall said, “I am concerned that Birmingham law enforcement officers are going to be placed in a very difficult position and may feel pressure to divert limited manpower and resources away from more direct threats to public safety.”

The letter ends with: "My objective in writing you, therefore, is two-fold: 1) to ask that you reconsider enforcement of this ordinance and ensure that law enforcement has clear guidance from you in this regard; and 2) to raise your awareness of the high volume of constitutional questions and concerns that my Office has received in the last day and a half, in order to give you the best opportunity to protect your City against unnecessary litigation.

“This request is submitted with due respect for both your authority and your valid concerns about the unique health threat that your residents are facing.”

The City of Birmingham filed a letter in response. In the letter, Mayor Woodfin said several members of Gov. Kay Ivey’s executive committee support the actions Birmingham has and is taking to protect public health.

Woodfin also said the face covering ordinance has the support of the White House, CDC, Alabama’s state health officer, and other health experts.

Here is is the full letter:

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