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Gov. Kay Ivey announced during a Wednesday morning press conference that she will be extending the statewide "Safer at Home" order, which includes a mask mandate, for another six weeks. The new mandate is set to expire Jan. 22, 2021.

Ivey opened her presser with positive remarks to her constituents, thanking the people of Alabama for remaining cautious and adhering to social distancing guidelines for the Thanksgiving holidays. She commended Alabamians for finding inventive ways to celebrate Thanksgiving during the pandemic, including having dinners outside and over virtual video software.

"It's obvious that Alabamians have found new and creative ways to gather together and give thanks in the midst of a very challenging year," she said.

Ivey acknowledged that the pandemic has exhausted the people of Alabama and she empathizes that the coronavirus has presented a grave interruption to the success of people's everyday lives. However, even as a viable vaccine is soon to be rolled out to the public, Ivey stressed that Alabama's work against the virus is far from over.

"Even though the vaccine is right around the corner, we cannot lull ourselves into complacency," she said. "[Wearing a mask] is one sacrifice that we all can make in order to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe."

An alumna of Auburn University and noted fan of the Tigers, Ivey even went to far as to reach "across the aisle" and compliment one of the University of Alabama's most noted leaders for his consistent mask wear and careful handling of a positive COVID-19 diagnosis.

"If Coach Saban can do this, so can you," she said. "...Wear your masks, wash your hands and sanitize your spaces as much as possible."

Ivey quipped that she's not trying to be an overprotective "MeeMaw," citing a common joke about herself that has circulated Twitter over the past nine months of the pandemic. She simplified her decisions to one critical point: if all the people of Alabama come together and do their part, the results will be far more favorable than lifting these restrictions.

"This is largely due to the personal responsibility of the people of the state of Alabama to wear a mask," she said. "We've been able to return to school and to church simply due to us all wearing masks."

Precautions cannot cease once a vaccine round begins to roll out, Ivey said. She urged listeners to be vigilant in ensuring their friends and loved ones keep wearing masks when they are within six feet of others. She emphasized that widespread personal responsibility with mask-wear is the primary reason businesses, schools and churches have remained open.

The Tuscaloosa Thread will update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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