Beginning today, workers and visitors to facilities owned and operated by the city of Tuscaloosa will have to wear face masks.
Tuscaloosa doesn’t have the statutory authority to require the public at-large to wear face masks to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox told CBS42 on Friday.
“Which we do think could make a big difference in mitigating that spread of coronavirus,” Maddox told the news station.
Maddox said during the interview that the city saw an increase in confirmed cases of coronavirus at institutional facilities, which strained area hospitals.
“So we thought one of the ways that we could do our part as a city is just require the face masks under certain conditions within city hall,” Maddox said. “It keeps our employees safe, and I think it sets a good tone for the rest of the city.”
Maddox’s Tuesday order states that city workers must wear masks unless they’re working in a room alone, or if they can maintain a distance of 6 feet from others, or are separated by cubicles or barriers, or under an exception from a department head.
Maddox told CBS42 that the face mask order will likely remain in effect until COVID-19 hospitalization numbers drop from their current level, although he said DCH Health Systems is currently able to manage the flow of patients.
DCH Health Systems in Tuscaloosa County on Friday was treating 64 COVID-19 patients, 23 of whom were in the intensive care unit and 8 of those were on ventilators, according to the hospital. The number of COVID-19 patients at the hospital has dropped slightly from May 29, when 84 patients were being treated, but has remained relatively steady since May 31.