PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WTVM) - Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced Wednesday that the state’s current mask mandate will end Friday, April 9. The state will then transition into a new Safer Apart order.
That new order will begin April 9 at 5 p.m. and run through May 5 at 5 p.m.
The decision from Ivey comes after fewer hospitalizations, fewer cases of COVID-19 and as more residents are getting vaccinated.
According to Ivey, the state has recorded an 89 percent drop in hospitalizations since January.
Under the new order, masks will no longer be required in the state, but rather strongly recommended in public places or in close contact situations.
The new order is the third phase of COVID-19 health orders.
“The notion that this new ordinance, that will hopefully come on Friday, I think is going to open up a lot of things from a comfort standpoint,” said Dennis Beson, the president of the Phenix City Chamber of Commerce.
Beson adds from a restaurant perspective, this may bring new ways to reach economical levels once again, despite some potential pushback from the community.
Tim O’Brien, co-owner of American Guitar Boutique in Phenix City says despite the change, they’ll always work to provide a safe environment for everyone.
“I think we’re going to allow our customers to determine what their comfort level is. We do lessons here and we do the same thing with the lessons. Our teachers will wear masks if that’s what our customers are comfortable with, but really it’s just a comfort level,” said O’Brien.
Ivey said Wednesday it’s important for Alabamians to remember everyone is still under a public health order and to just remain respectful to others’ choices moving forward.