OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - East Alabama leaders are sharing their thoughts as we reach the final week of the mask mandate in Alabama. Governor Kay Ivey is expected to announce within the next few days if she will extend the statewide order or not.
Lee County Emergency Management Agency Director Rita Smith said a variety of opinions are swirling throughout the community and beyond.
“You have people that are adamant, ‘Even if she says you can take them off, we’re going to still wear them,'” she said. [You have people who say,] ‘Even if she says we have to wear them, we’re not wearing them.’ So you have both things happening here, not just in Lee County, Alabama, but nationwide."
For Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller, ending the mask requirement in the Yellowhammer State now would be premature.
“Let’s keep wearing the masks for a while longer, and let’s see what we look like a month from now,” he said. “And I think it’s the smart thing to do.”
He told News Leader Nine extending the mask mandate is a smart decision not only to curb the spread of COVID-19, but because flu season is right around the corner.
“We’re about to get into flu season, which is always tough enough,” Mayor Fuller said. “Let’s keep the masks on for a while longer. Let’s hope everyone gets the flu shot.”
Smith said regardless of Governor Ivey’s decision on the mask mandate, it’s imperative everyone is careful and considerate, especially with upcoming holidays.
“We need to be aware that this pandemic is very real, there have been many, many deaths nationwide, and that there are precautions we need to take with or without the mask,” she said.
The mask ordinance expires Friday, Oct. 2.