BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Birmingham residents could face a fine or even jail time if they are caught without a mask in public starting May 1.
Mayor Randall L. Woodfin has proposed and the Birmingham City Council has unanimously approved an ordinance to require the wearing of a face covering in public during the COVID-19 health emergency.
The ordinance requires an item to cover the nose and mouth of a person to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Under the ordinance, that will go into effect on Friday, May 1, 2020, medical-grade masks are not required. The coverings may include, but not be limited to items such as scarves or bandanas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state cloth face coverings may be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost.
The ordinance requires face coverings to be worn at all times by people over the age of 2 and who can medically tolerate doing so when in public places within the city of Birmingham. Face coverings are not required in an individual’s home or personal vehicle.
The city has created exceptions to the ordinance. It includes:
- Face coverings are not required to be worn over the face during individual outdoor exercise, for example, walking or jogging, but must be worn when encountering and interacting with groups of other people in a park or other public place.
- Children 2 years old and under, as face coverings or masks may pose a risk of choking, strangulation or suffocation to infants and young toddlers. Carriers and strollers with coverings that allow the child to breathe comfortably are alternatives for infants and young toddlers. Parents and guardians shall be responsible for ensuring proper masking of children over the age of two years when in public but must ensure that the face-covering does not pose a choking hazard for children and can be safely worn without obstructing a child’s ability to breathe. Parents and guardians shall exercise judgment and avoid bringing children not wearing masks into public places, especially where contact with vulnerable individuals is expected.
- Patients in examination rooms of medical or dental offices or clinics or hospitals where there is a necessity to examine or treat the mouth or nasal area, subject to the direction of the medical or dental professionals in charge of the office, clinic or hospital.
- When wearing a face-covering poses a greater mental or physical health, safety or security risk such as anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.
The city states business owners, managers and supervisors will be expected to ensure employees and visitors observe the requirement in their place of business. And in addition, businesses will not be required to provide face coverings for employees.
Birmingham residents or those within the city limits who fail to comply with the ordinance are punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up-to 30 days in the municipal jail.
Click here to see how to make a cloth face covering at home.