DAPHNE – Masks could continue to be required in Daphne City Hall and some other municipal buildings through May to allow employees time to be vaccinated, city officials said.
Gov. Kay Ivey ended the state requirement for masks on Friday, April 9. Under the new “Safer Apart” order, masks are encouraged in public, but not required.
Daphne Mayor Robin LeJeune asked City Council members to continue mask requirements in some areas, including City Hall, the Daphne Library and Civic Center.
“What I would like to do is to have the mask mandates for the city buildings until our employees have the opportunity to get vaccinated to keep them safe, LeJeune said Monday, April 5. “There are some employees who haven't had that opportunity because they just lowered the age requirement this week so we're hoping to look for some time in May. That way it gives every opportunity for our city employees to be vaccinated, especially since we have younger employees who haven't had that opportunity to be vaccinated until this week.”
He said the city could continue the mask requirement until May 31.
Councilman Steve Olen said the city should continue to require masks.
“I totally support and agree with your position about the mask requirement in order to protect city employees,” Olen told LeJeune. “I think that is very important. It's not their fault that they're at risk because they have not had a chance to be vaccinated. So, I am fully supportive of that position.”
Councilman Ron Scott said city officials should set a deadline for ending the mandate when employees have had a chance to decide if they will receive a vaccine.
“My only recommendation was that if we extend it, you have some criteria for when you would take it away, if you had some percentage of the people who have been vaccinated, knowing that some of our employees may decide not to for whatever reason. It's their choice. We have gone from a high of a 14-day average of having 1,400 cases, to, I looked today, it was like 205, so been a major decrease in cases and you would think that as we continue to get the vaccinations in people's arms that it's going to go that way.”
After Ivey announced that the state would not require masks after April 9, some agencies in Baldwin County relaxed some protection guidelines.
The Baldwin County Commission relaxed mask requirements in most county buildings. The Baldwin County courts continue to require masks. County facilities that share space with circuit and district court operations, including the Baldwin County Courthouse in Bay Minette and the lobby of the Fairhope Satellite Courthouse, will also still require visitors and court participants to wear masks.
The Baldwin County Public School System announced that masks would not be required after students returned from spring break on April 12.