Maddox: There’s “No Public Purpose to Extending Mask Ordinance”
The City of Tuscaloosa currently has no plans to issue its own mask mandate after Governor Kay Ivey's "Safer at Home" order expires Friday, April 9.
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox appeared on the Steve Shannon Morning Show on 95.3 The Bear just hours ahead of the order's expiration to discuss the City of Tuscaloosa's decision.
"In my opinion, and I think the majority of the City Council, there's no public purpose to extending the mask ordinance," Maddox said. "Everything we do can't be for a good feeling... We have to lead with logic, and the logic tells us that the public purpose is simply not there to do an extension of the mask ordinance."
On Tuesday, Maddox asked the City Council to rescind his emergency orders, this being the latest signifier that he feels much more comfortable reopening the City. DCH hospitalization numbers have been at record lows for six weeks, and with the passage of the American Rescue Plan, there's no need for the city to try and qualify for additional funding or FEMA reimbursements.
"Our north star this whole time has been protecting DCH," Maddox said, citing the biggest reason he asked his powers to be rescinded. "They have the staging, they have the PPE, they have the treatment. They've done a fantastic job in the distribution of the vaccine."
As of the 5:00 p.m. Friday, April 9, each individual business will decide its mask requirements. Maddox said that leaving this decision up to business owners was a safe call at this time, considering the rate at which people are getting vaccinated, especially within the more vulnerable population.
Maddox said he's most looking forward to the City achieving a larger sense of normalcy in the coming weeks and months.
"As long as we can do it safely, I think we need to get back to normal as soon as possible," Maddox said. "I believe people are seeing a brighter future on the horizon, moving out of COVID-19, we're starting to see that. The fact is we're having A-Day... My God, we're going to have amphitheater shows!"
Maddox said he's open to any changes or reinstatements should that be required, although he did not specify what would prompt that.