Alabama mask order takes effect as hospitalizations rise

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's health order requiring face masks in public places took effect Thursday as COVID-19 hospitalizations reached another new high in the state.

The order went into effect the same day that the state's largest public school system announced students will not return to classroom this fall because of the rise in cases.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Wednesday that the state will require face masks in public places to try to curb a surge of new coronavirus cases. The order took effect at 5 p.m. Thursday and requires people over age 6 to wear masks covering their mouth and nostrils when in public and within 6 feet (2 meters) of a person from another household. There are exemptions for certain medical conditions, certain professions, exercising and when eating and drinking.