July 15, 2020

Today Governor Kay Ivey issued a statewide order (link below) that goes into effect Thursday at 5 p.m. and will remain in effect until at least July 31. The order, which comes as Alabama has seen a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, supersedes any local regulations.

The Order is an Order, except where it does not apply. The exceptions are so nested and broad it is hard to determine where it does apply rather than where it does not. Turns out that a brown paper sack with eyeholes could probably pass for the term “other facial covering”.  For a list of all of the exceptions here are some of the carveouts:

Q. What is considered a ‘face covering’?

A. Anything store bought, homemade or improvised from household items like scarves, bandannas or T-shirts.

Are there exceptions?

A. Yes. Exceptions are allowed for:

  • Children six or younger
  • People with certain medical conditions or disabilities
  • Eating or drinking, or while seated at a restaurant
  • Medical and dental procedures
  • Anyone who is required to remove facial coverings to confirm their identity for security purposed
  • While exercising
  • While communicating with anyone where the ability to see the person’s mouth is essential for communication; any person speaking for broadcast or to an audience
  • While participating in voting; while providing or obtaining access to religious worship
  • Any first responders where a mask would be a hindrance to perform a public-safety function
  • Any person performing a job function where wearing a face covering is inconsistent with industry safety standard

Confused yet? Here are some more answers.

Q. Do I have to wear a mask at restaurants and bars?

A. Masks are not required while consuming food or drink, or seated at a restaurant to eat or drink.

Q. Do I have to wear a mask while exercising?

A. Masks are not required when exercising in a gym or other athletic facility if he or she maintains six feet of separation from others. Masks are also not required while swimming in a pool, lake water attraction or similar body of water, though wearing a mask or social distancing is strongly encouraged.

Q. Do I have to wear a mask in church?

A. No, if actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship would be hindered by a mask, though, wearing a face mask is strongly encouraged.

Then there is the big unanswered question: If the state rule does not apply, does the local rule now apply?

Huh you ask? Do I need a Lawyer to tell me what to do here? If I go to Tuscaloosa or Birmingham which rule do I follow, Mayor Maddox, Mayor Woodfin, or Governor Ivey?

Don’t ask The Bibb Voice. We just stir up trouble, not provide difficult answers. Maybe politicians need to quit telling people what to do.

I grew up in a world where adults make their own family decisions. You consult professionals, such as doctors, lawyers, and accountants, for advice, not to make decisions for you. What I do not need is a politician making health care decisions for my family.

Government was empowered and entrusted by the citizens to make law and to follow the laws they make. Government works for the welfare of the citizens, not to support their own ideals. My grandmother said they (politicians) should stick to their own knitting.

These words should be repeated over and over again to our children and grandchildren:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America”

for the Preamble of the Constitution is a short and succinct explanation of why we have a government at all. Don’t let your children and grandchildren take up the notion that it is the government’s job to provide for their welfare, their well-being, and their decision-making.

Some of those elusive ships that make up our “liberties” have already sailed but the fleet is still in port. It is up to us voters to see that we suffer no battle damage that we cannot endure. The culture war is real and it is a threat to the survival of our nation.

We must defeat the enemy not only at the ballot box but on the fields of paper, behind the walls of ivey,  in the classrooms, and even in the halls of congress, where the skirmishes have been fought for the last 40 years while we have been asleep at the switch. The devil lives amongst us.

The subject is much too deep for today. More later. Wear your mask, or your paper bag. Or don’t. You could be fined. Or not. The complete order is available for your interpretation if your want to read the fine print. Click below.