Tuscaloosa joins Alabama cities requiring face masks

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Tuscaloosa has joined the short list of Alabama cities requiring face masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

City council members unanimously approved a mask requirement during a meeting Tuesday, news outlets reported. The rule is expected to last about a month, and violators in the city of about 100,000 people could face a $25 fine.

The Mobile City Council was set to vote on a mask law on Wednesday, but Decatur leaders delayed a decision on a similar rule.

Birmingham and surrounding Jefferson County, Montgomery and Selma already have mask ordinances because of the pandemic, which health officials say is worsening in Alabama as hospitalizations increase and the percentage of positive virus test results rise.

Gov. Kay Ivey has declined to enact a statewide mask law, saying it couldn't be enforced, but she extended other, less-restrictive rules that have been in place.

More than 37,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed statewide, and at least 926 people have died of the illness. The coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but it can be more serious and even fatal for older adults and those with other health problems.

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