Alabama Governor Kay Ivey on Thursday extended her state’s mask order for another month though she said the requirement will end for good in April, The Associated Press reported.
Ivey has faced political pressure to lift the mask order like her Republican counterparts but said she will follow the recommendations of medical officials and keep the mandate that was set to expire Friday in place until April 9.
“We need to get past Easter and hopefully allow more Alabamians to get their first shot before we take a step some other states have taken to remove the mask order altogether and lift other restrictions. Folks, we are not there yet, but goodness knows we’re getting closer,” Ivey said at a news conference, according to AP.
The governor called masks “one of our greatest tools” in preventing the virus’ spread but emphasized that she will not extend the mask order further, saying it will become a matter of personal responsibility when the mandate ends.
“Even when we lift the mask order, I will continue to wear my mask while I’m around others and strongly urge my fellow citizens to use common sense and do the same,” Ivey said.
Ivey’s announcement came two days after the Governors of Texas and Mississippi decided to lift their states’ mask mandates and restrictions on businesses.
US President Joe Biden on Wednesday ripped both Governors, saying the decision is a “big mistake” and adding, “And the last thing, the last thing we need is the Neanderthal thinking that in the meantime everything’s fine, take off your mask, forget it."