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MONTGOMERY (AP) — More Alabama cities are implementing, or considering, a requirement to wear face masks in public places to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

Montgomery and Birmingham and Jefferson County have orders in place requiring face masks in public places.

The mayor of Selma on Friday issued a similar order.

Tuscaloosa will vote on a possible mask ordinance today.

The mayors of Decatur and Mobile indicated their city councils will discuss the idea.

But on Monday, Florence Mayor Steve Holt said local officials are not mandating face masks be worn in public, although he urged citizens to do so for their own personal safety (see story Page A1).

Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson wrote on social media that he is asking the Mobile City Council to approve an order requiring face coverings in public places.

“This step was necessitated by the rising number of COVID infections over the past week. There is no question that masks can prevent the spread of COVID-19. The virus is actively spreading in our community and remains a serious threat to public health,” Stimpson wrote on Twitter.

Decatur Mayor Tab Bowling wrote in a social media post that the City Council planned on discussing facial covering during at a special meeting Monday evening.

Selma Mayor Darrio Melton issued an executive order last week requiring all citizens to wear a face covering in public places within the city of Selma to slow the spread of COVID-19, The Selma Times Journal reported.

As of Monday, the state had reported more than 36,600 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and at least 905 confirmed deaths from the virus.

More than a fourth of the cases have been reported in the last two weeks. 

State health officials have expressed concern over the numbers.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey will decide in the coming days whether to extend Alabama’s “safer at home” order that expires Friday. The order limits occupancy in stores, bars and restaurants, requires restaurant employees to wear masks and encourages members of the public to wear masks.

Alabama health officials have announced they plan to put color-coded rankings to track the spread of COVID-19 in counties. The map, which will list counties as red, yellow or green, is not yet available on the state dashboard, but is expected to be unveiled in coming days, State Health Officer Scott Harris said last week.

Harris said that the display is meant to give people and local officials information in a form that is “easy to see.”

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