Local businesses excited over relaxation of COVID guidelines
By WVUA 23 News Reporter Michaela Redmond
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is relaxing COVID-19 masking guidelines, suggesting a return to normalcy in much of the country, including right here in West Alabama.
These new guidelines, released Friday, split the guidance for areas of high-, medium- and low-risk transmission.
Those in low- or medium-risk areas are suggested to wear masks only if you’re at a high risk for severe illness, stay up to date with a COVID-19 vaccine and get tested if you have symptoms.
For those living in high-risk areas, it’s highly suggested that you wear a mask indoors in public.
The guidelines are just that: Guidelines. Cities and states across the country have their own mask restrictions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and businesses are free to set their own rules for patrons and employees. Alabama’s statewide mask mandate ended April 2021.
In West Alabama, Tuscaloosa Fayette, Lamar, Pickens and Hale counties are at a medium-risk level. Bibb, Jefferson and Walker counties are high-risk.
Alabama Express employee Maggie Kapperman said she’s hoping these new guidelines mean things might finally be getting back to normal.
“I think this is what most people want and I think its good step in the right direction,” said Kapperman. “If I feel the need to wear a mask then I’ll wear it, and it gives us more freedom.”
The store still has plastic dividers positioned at each register and remains cautious of potential disease spread, Kapperman said, and they continuously wipe down registers and keep the store immaculate.
“I think that we take a lot of good measures and even though we are not required to wear a mask, some employees still do,” said Alabama Express employee Cameron Claire Rhodes. “If you do or don’t wear a mask, we just want to make sure we’re all safe.”
In all, Alabama has 28 counties at high risk, 35 at medium and five at low risk.
If you’re curious about how your area is doing, you can check its status right here.