City of Birmingham to require face coverings effective May 1

Mayor Randall L. Woodfin has proposed and the Birmingham City Council has unanimously approved an ordinance to require the wearing of a face covering in public during the COVID-19 health emergency. The ordinance requires an item to cover the nose and mouth of a person to limit the spread of coronavirus. Under the ordinance, that will go into effect on Friday, May 1, 2020, medical grade masks are not required. The coverings may include, but not be limited to items such as scarves or bandanas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state cloth face coverings may be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost. The ordinance requires face coverings to be worn at all times by people over the age of two and who can medically tolerate doing so when in public places within the City of Birmingham. Face coverings are not required in an individual’s home or personal vehicle. Exceptions to the ordinance include:

  • Face coverings are not required to be worn over the face during individual outdoor exercise, for example, walking or jogging, but must be worn when encountering and interacting with groups of other people in a park or other public place.
  • Children two years of age and under, as face coverings or masks may pose a risk of choking, strangulation or suffocation to infants and young toddlers. Carriers and strollers with coverings that allow the child to breathe comfortably are alternatives for infants and young toddlers. Parents and guardians shall be responsible for ensuring proper masking of children over the age of two years when in public but must ensure that the face covering does not pose a choking hazard for children and can be safely worn without obstructing a child’s ability to breathe. Parents and guardians shall exercise judgment and avoid bringing children not wearing masks into public places, especially where contact with vulnerable individuals is expected.
  • Patients in examination rooms of medical or dental offices or clinics or hospitals where there is a necessity to examine or treat the mouth or nasal area, subject to the direction of the medical or dental professionals in charge of the office, clinic or hospital.
  • When wearing a face covering poses a greater mental or physical health, safety or security risk such as anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the cover without assistance.

Business owners, managers and supervisors will be expected to ensure employees and visitors observe the requirement in their place of business. Businesses will not be required to provide face coverings for employees. Failure to comply with the ordinance is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or up to 30 days in the municipal jail.

How do I make a cloth face covering?

The attached link to the CDC provides information on creating different types of cloth face coverings from items commonly found around the house.

View the proposed ordinance below.