Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced that she will allow the state's COVID-19 public health order to expire on May 31st and for the state of emergency she declared more than a year ago to end a week later.

In the Monday announcement, Ivey cited rising vaccination rates statewide, especially among Alabama residents who are 65 or older.

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Ivey said as cases and hospitalizations decline and vaccinations rise, she now considers COVID-19 to be "a managed pandemic."

“Alabamians have consistently stepped up to the plate over the course of this pandemic, and I know they will continue to do so," Ivey said. "I am pleased that we have shown the rest of the country that we are gritty and determined. We are signaling loud and clear that Alabama is open, and we are moving forward.”

Ivey said most of Alabama's existing health orders simply align with federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, with the exception of specific state-level rules for senior citizen centers, hospitals and nursing homes.

"Barring a great spike in COVID-19 cases, these last remaining requirements should be lifted with the expiration of this order on May 31st," Ivey said in a press release.

Alabama State Health Officer Scott Harris also weighed in, praising Ivey for her leadership and the Alabama National Guard for their efforts to vaccinate the population.

“As we approach the fourteenth month of this pandemic, we are pleased that two-thirds of Alabama residents age 65 and older have been vaccinated," Harris said. While some barriers such as transportation remain, more than 1,300 providers in the state are administering safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in communities throughout the state.”

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