By Barnett Wright
The Birmingham Times
The city of Birmingham on Thursday announced that it will require all visitors and municipal employees to wear face masks or face coverings while in city-owned venues.
This comes one day at Birmingham City Schools, which begins in-person classes on Aug. 2, announced that all students, faculty, and visitors will be required to wear face masks this fall.
The city government made its announcement on its social media accounts:
“Per Mayor Woodfin and effective immediately, face coverings will be required for all employees and all visitors to city owned-venues. Please note this applies to but is not limited to City Hall, police precincts, libraries, rec centers, venues, etc. ”
In an email to AL.com, the Birmingham Office of Public Information further explained the reason for the requirement.
“Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in Jefferson County, Mayor Randall L. Woodfin has asked that all City employees and the public wear a face covering while in City of Birmingham facilities,” the office said in the email. “This includes places such as City Hall, Boutwell Auditorium, all libraries, the Birmingham Museum of Art, the Birmingham CrossPlex, etc. This requirement is for everyone, including those who’ve been vaccinated.”
The announcement comes in the wake of new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending fully vaccinated people wear a face mask indoors to “maximize protection from the delta variant,” of the COVID-19 virus, as well as the surge of new COVID-19 cases around the state, also fueled by the delta variant.
It was that guidance that led Birmingham City Schools to update its guidelines for the opening of schools, said Superintendent Dr. Mark Sullivan.
“We follow the science-based recommendations from medical and public health professionals,” he said. “Our goal is to provide a safe and healthy environment for our students and our employees.”
Alabama now has the highest COVID-19 positivity rate in the United States, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human services. Data from the Alabama Department of Public Health shows the 7-day average for new cases is now higher that it was last July. However, numbers do show a slight uptick in the state’s vaccination rate.
AL.com contributed to this report