University of Alabama Drops Mask Mandate for the Vaccinated


The University of Alabama is no longer requiring face coverings in most of its facilities for people who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Beginning Friday, masks will be mandated only for unvaccinated people indoors and in crowded outdoor settings or during outdoor activities that involve sustained close contact with others who are unvaccinated, the university said in a statement.

Masks are will remain required for people in patient clinical-care settings at University Medical Center, the Student Health Center, the Capstone Village assisted living and specialty care units, Brewer-Porch Children’s Center and the Working on Womanhood program and for those on Crimson Ride buses, WBRC-TV reported.

The university said unvaccinated people will not have to wear masks when eating or drinking or while maintaining appropriate distancing, when alone in offices with closed doors, while exercising or in residence hall rooms.

Since the pandemic began, 15,573 COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Alabama, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The change was announced just as Alabama lawmakers took steps to fight a federal mandate requiring that most workers get vaccinated for the COVID-19 virus. This week, a state House committee aimed at limiting companies’ ability to fire workers who say they can’t get vaccinated against COVID-19 for religious or medical reasons.

Also this week, an Alabama police chief, on his death bed with COVID, said he regretted his decision against getting vaccinated, his widow said.

Buddy Crabtree, a 10-year veteran of the Ider Police Department in northeastern Alabama, died Saturday of the illness caused by the coronavirus, news outlets reported. He was often seen inside schools in the town of about 650 people.

“He loved his job and Ider,” widow Kristie Crabtree told WAAY-TV. “He loved the community of Ider, his officers, the school kids.”

Crabtree’s battle with Covid-19 was a surprise to many since he seemed healthy and kept busy. Crabtree said her husband went to Highlands Medical Center in Scottsboro on Oct. 9 and was flown to Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee, 10 days later.

She said her husband said he would’ve got a vaccine, which health officials say prevents nearly all serious cases of COVID-19 and deaths, if he knew how hard he would have to fight to live.

“He actually said, `If I get better, I’ll take all three, I don’t ever want to go through this again,”’ she said.

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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