Resisting pressure, Alabama governor extends mask order
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has faced political pressure and angry constituents over her state’s mask order during the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the 76-year-old governor of the deeply red state has resisted calls to drop the requirement as Republican governors across the South either shunned mask mandates altogether or lifted them in late winter.
“Maybe they don’t have access to the same information I have. We want to be abundantly clear and abundantly safe before we drop the mask mandate,” Ivey said when asked about fellow Republicans — including the Alabama Senate and the lieutenant governor — who urged her to end the order.
Ivey issued Alabama’s mask order in July and announced on Thursday that she would extend it five more weeks 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 Thursday news conference.
GOP governors from Texas to South Carolina have resisted, or ended, statewide mask orders. Florida, South Carolina and Georgia never had a statewide order. Ivey’s announcement came days after Mississippi and Texas dropped their mandates, decisions President Joe Biden called “Neanderthal thinking.”
Mississippi's governor took issue with the criticism.
“Mississippians don’t need handlers. As numbers drop, they can assess their choices and listen to experts. I guess I just think we should trust Americans, not insult them,” Gov. Tate Reeves responded on Twitter.
On social media, Ivey’s decision drew a mix of rage and gratitude.
“Meemaw you gotta go.... I ain’t...