Athens will not enact a local mask mandate

Posted: Apr 7, 2021 / 03:30 PM CDT Updated: Apr 7, 2021 / 03:30 PM CDT

ATHENS, Ala. — Athens will not adopt a local mask mandate once the state’s expires Friday, city officials said Wednesday.

The news came a couple of hours after Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced a “safer apart” order that changes masks from required to recommended.

“Our local businesses and organizations can follow state guidelines and make their own decision whether to encourage or require masks,” Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said in a statement. “COVID certainly has not gone away although more people are getting the vaccine. We still need to be cautious and have personal responsibility.”

According to the city, some city buildings may require masks because of the high volume of foot traffic. Notices will be posted at those facilities to let people know if they are required.

City officials also plan to keep seating spaced apart for Athens City Council meetings and other meetings at City Hall.