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Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging Alabama mask order

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) —  A judge on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s statewide order to wear face coverings in public places to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Montgomery Circuit Judge Greg Griffin entered the order following a hearing.

Real estate agent Debbie Mathis and retired sheriff’s Deputies Larry Lewis and Barry Munza, all of Jackson County, filed the lawsuit against Ivey, State Health Officer Scott Harris and the State Board of Health. The lawsuit contends the mask order was illegally adopted and that the plaintiffs face deprivation of liberty anytime they interact with others.

“There is no statutory authority that can be construed to empower the governor to mandate the wearing of a mask under any circumstances,” a lawyer for the plaintiffs wrote in court filings.

On July 15, Ivey announced a requirement for face coverings to be worn by anyone older than age 6 who’s in public and within 6 feet of someone who’s not a relative. The rule makes exceptions for people who have certain medical conditions, are exercising, or are performing certain types of jobs.

The governor later extended the order through the end of August.

The governor’s office asked the judge to dismiss the case.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. But for others, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, the highly contagious virus can cause severe symptoms and be fatal.

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