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New ordinance requires masks 

Beginning July 16 through July 31, Alabama is under a mandatory mask ordinance requiring all individuals to wear a facial covering in public within 6 feet of another individual because of the increase in cases of COVID-19. 

There are certain exceptions, such as those younger than 6 years of age, those with existing medical issues and in instances where an individual cannot wear a mask, such as eating and drinking. 

“Despite all our best efforts, we are still seeing daily increases in cases occurring, and it is almost to the point where our hospital ICUs are overwhelmed,” said Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey in a press conference. “Folks, the numbers just do not lie.” 

The penalty for violating the order can result in a fine of $500 and/or jail time. Russellville Police Chief Chris Hargett said he encourages everyone to follow the mask ordinance to protect themselves. 

“This is what people who know more than us are recommending we do, so we encourage everyone to follow the rules set in place,” Hargett said. 

Hargett said Russellville police are not patrolling for people not wearing their masks, and police will only intervene if a private business or group has issues with people obeying the mask ordinance and contacts the police to help. 

“We just don’t have the people or the time to spend watching out for people not wearing masks because we have so much else that we have to do,” Hargett said.  

Russellville Mayor David Grissom said although the mask ordinance can make certain aspects of daily life difficult, it is essential to protect the safety and health of everyone. 

“Right now we are all just doing the best we can to try to lower the number of cases we are seeing and help the curve,” Grissom said. “We encourage everyone to wear a mask and continue to practice social distancing.”