HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Health officials and politicians are eager to to see what Governor Kay Ivey and state health officer, Dr. Scott Harris do with Alabama’s mask mandate, Thursday.
“If you lift the mask mandate before we have a higher level on antibody protection, people will misunderstand that message,” said Dr. Don Williamson, the president of the Alabama Hospital Association.
Dr. Williamson says the mask mandate has always been about personal responsibility. It’s not like mass arrests are made when the mandate isn’t followed. Dr. Williamson hopes people consider masks no matter what happens Thursday. Still there’s concern about what message will be sent and how people will take it.
“Instead of hearing it as – we now need you to use your common sense and continue to wear a mask, continue to social distance. They will hear it as we have beat the virus and a mask is no longer required. That would be a disaster,” said Dr. Williamson.
Wednesday ADPH deferred any direct preference on what happens to the mask mandate.
“I do think that masks play a role, but again we will defer to the governor on her decision related to that,” said Dr. Karen Landers of ADPH.
Dr. Williamson says the medical community is fortunate to only stay in their lane. The rest is for the politicians.
“People who are making these decisions not only have the health issue to weigh. They have to weigh what the effect is on the economy. What the effect is on mental health.” said Dr. Williamson.
Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth is calling on Governor Ivey to remove the mask mandate. Rep. Anthony Daniels says the state can’t lean heavily on personal responsibility, saying one COVID-19 spike could disrupt the bigger picture.
“If we pass an order to not enforce wearing a mask, it will destroy the economy. It will kill small business,” said Rep. Daniels.
More than 10,000 Alabamians have died from COVID-19. NEWS 19 will carry Governor Ivey’s announcement live at 11:00 a.m. on TV and on WHNT.com