Alabama County Re-imposes Mask Mandates at Government Buildings

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
September 8, 2023US News
Alabama County Re-imposes Mask Mandates at Government Buildings
A man wears a face mask during the morning commute during a code orange air quality alert due to smoke from Canadian wildfires in Washington on June 9, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

An official in Dallas County, Alabama, said the county re-implemented a mask mandate in county buildings that are open to the public, an indicator that mask mandates may return en masse across the United States.

Probate Judge Jimmy Nunn stated this week that the policy was instated due to a reported increase in COVID-19 cases nationally and locally. There have also been isolated COVID-19 cases in county buildings, he claimed, according to a local media outlet WAKA-TV.

“At this point in time it is only being taken effect in the government buildings that the public come into. And that will be the three buildings that we have. The courthouse, the annex and the administrative building. These three buildings in which the public come in and we provide services to the public,” said Mr. Nunn, without providing more details.

The risk of contracting COVID-19 in Dallas County, which is located in central Alabama and has the county seat of Selma, is currently considered relatively “low,” according to data from the Covid Act Now nonprofit and tracker. As of Friday, the data showed that there were 6.6 weekly hospital admissions with COVID-19 per 100,000, while 1 percent of hospital beds are occupied by COVID-19 patients.

The Epoch Times contacted Dallas County for additional comment.

A U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesperson told The Epoch Times several days ago that COVID-19 hospital admissions are relatively low in 96 percent of the United States. Officials with the agency also have told media outlets that there are no discussions to call for a return to mask-wearing.

Other Mandates

Last month, at least one school district in Alabama mandated masks. Officials at the Kinterbish Junior High School in Cuba, Alabama, released a message on social media saying that “due to the slow raise [sic] of COVID cases in the area, students, employees, and visitors are asked to wear facial masks.” It did not say for how long it would remain intact.

The Talladega City Schools said via Facebook that masking is being encouraged among staff members and students. Face coverings are not required, it said in a subsequent post that attempted to clarify the matter.

Several public school districts in Kentucky and Texas have also canceled classes after COVID-19 cases led to reported widespread student absences in recent weeks.

“We’re seeing a lot of illness being reported consistent with COVID and influenza,” Scott Lockard, public health director for the Kentucky River District told ABC News last month. “Lee County had a surge of cases and attendance dropped below the threshold needed to stay open, so they closed.”

In neighboring Georgia, a small Atlanta college last month implemented a mask mandate for two weeks. In an update to media outlets, Morris Brown College’s president confirmed on Sunday that the rule ended.

NTD Photo
Students and parents arrive masked for the first day of the school year at Grant Elementary School in Los Angeles, Calif., on Aug. 16, 2021. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

More controversially, a school in Silver Spring, Maryland, announced it would require masks for a kindergarten class, including students and teachers, after several students tested positive for COVID-19.

“Additional KN95 masks have been distributed and students and staff in identified classes or activities will be required to mask while in school for the next 10 days, except while eating or drinking,” Rosemary Hills School Principal Rebecca Irwin Kennedy said in a letter, dated Sept. 5, announcing the mandate.

Elsewhere in the United States, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said last week that the state would be giving schools more masks and COVID-19 tests. Districts need to review the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance, she added, for COVID-19 and schools, which doesn’t currently mandate masks.

As mandates return in some places, several top Republicans said that Americans should not comply or would not be bringing the rules back. On Thursday, for example, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared in a news conference, where he decried the mandates at schools and promised that Florida wouldn’t be following suit.

“As we see these things being orchestrated … there needs to be pushback,” he said, adding, “People are lurching toward this insanity again.”

Days before that, former President Donald Trump released a video on social media urging Americans to resist lockdowns and mandates, accusing those pushing such rules of engaging in tyranny.

Meanwhile, Sen. J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) introduced a bill this week that would ban federal agencies from requiring masks, which stalled on the Senate floor on Thursday after Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) refused to give him unanimous consent. Mr. Markey claimed that the bill is a “red herring” and said it could tie the government’s hands in the event of another pandemic.

In a release, Mr. Vance said that his Freedom to Breathe Act “would prevent the reimposition of federal mask mandates for domestic air travel, public transit systems, and primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools,” as he urged its passage.

From The Epoch Times

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