State health leaders urge extension of Alabama mask mandate

Coronavirus

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey wears an Auburn University mask as she arrives to announce a statewide mask order during a news conference in the state capitol building in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Health leaders in Alabama are urging officials to again extend the statewide mask mandate, perhaps into 2021.

The rule is set to expire next week even as cases of COVID-19 explode, filling the state’s hospitals and killing people daily.

Dr. Sarah Nafziger of the University of Alabama at Birmingham said it’s “critically important” for Gov. Kay Ivey to maintain the requirement, and the head of the Alabama Hospital Association said the organization would support the mandate’s extension through January.

Ivey has publicly encouraged mask-wearing. The head of the state health agency said there’s no indication the mandate will end when it expires next Friday.

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