Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a statewide mask order.

The order states a face covering must be worn in public when in close contact with other people. Specifically, it stipulates the order says Alabamians must wear a mask when you are within 6 feet of a person from another household in an indoor space open to the public; a vehicle operated by a transportation service such as Uber; or an outdoor public space where 10 or more people are gathered.

It 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 an increase in the number of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, supersedes any local regulations.

There are exceptions to the order. The largest category for exceptions is for “practical necessity” reasons, such as when children are 6 or younger; people with certain medical conditions or disabilities; eating and drinking; and medical and dental procedures. There are also categories for exceptions for exercise, communicating with an audience and certain necessary job functions. Another category for exceptions includes activities such as voting or religious worship, though wearing a face mask for those is “strongly encouraged,” the governor’s office said.

The order does not stipulate what kind of face covering is required as long as it covers the nostrils and mouth. It does require businesses to take “reasonable steps” to encourage mask use by employees and customers.

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