By Joshua Huff, sports editor
BIRMINGHAM — The Birmingham City Council on Tuesday voted to amend the citywide ordinance that calls for citizens within Birmingham city limits to wear face coverings when out in public.
The amended ordinance clarifies those exemptions to the order and adds new language for offices, worksites and children. Previously, the wording called for exemptions for children under the age of 2, for exercising and if wearing a mask poses a mental health or physical health safety risk to the wearer (trouble breathing, incapacitated, among others).
The amended order states that parents of children ages 8 or younger shall exercise judgement regarding the ability of their children to consistently wear a face mask. In addition, daycare centers must provide parents with information pertaining to the use of face coverings. The daycare center must adhere to sanitary, hygienic and face covering practices to the best of their ability.
Business owners, supervisors and those other leadership roles must ensure that employees and customers wear face coverings while at a place of business. Though, employees working alone in separate office spaces or non-public workplaces can take off their face coverings as long as proper social distancing is maintained.
People exercising outdoors, walking or jogging, are not required to wear a face mask, but it must be put on when encountering groups of people at the park or in other public spaces.
A mask also does not have to be worn if it poses a mental or medical risk for the user. This entails anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance. Further, a mask does not have to be worn if it poses a safety risk while at work. That means working a job that requires heavy physical resistance, working at height or if the mask hinders communication, among others.
The masks still must always be worn when interacting with people outside of their homes. The Birmingham City Council defined a face covering as, “a device to cover the nose and mouth of a person to impede the spread of saliva or other fluids during speaking, coughing, sneezing or other intentional or involuntary action. Medical grade masks are not required; coverings may be fashioned from scarves, bandanas or other suitable fabrics. The mask must cover the mouth and nose of the wearer.”