Everybody in Madison County should be wearing a mask according to a health order that took effect July 7, but don’t expect much to change on post.

“The mask policy that Madison County instituted recently is almost identical to what has been the standing policy on Redstone for quite some time now,” Garrison Commander Col. Kelsey Smith said. “For members of our workforce, that means nothing changes when it comes to wearing cloth face coverings while on the installation.”

The Madison County order requires masks inside all businesses or venues open to the general public like stores, bars, restaurants, etc., which is similar to what is already taking place on Redstone.

“Leadership has been quite clear with our workforce from the beginning that they should always have a mask on their person while on the installation and wear it when they are unable to maintain 6 feet of physical separation,” Smith said. “This is as much about personal responsibility as it is about policy requirements when it comes to ensuring we each do the right thing to protect ourselves, our neighbors, and ensuring we are able to continue execution of our critical mission sets in support of the Soldier and our nation.”

The installation also requires masks in all the common-use facilities where employees are likely to encounter groups larger than 10 people like the Exchange, Commissary and gas stations.

“And each tenant organization is identifying and communicating to their workforce what additional steps must be taken within their organizations to create a safe work environment. Inside our fence, the health and safety of our workforce is non-negotiable,” Smith added.

Outside the gates, the order makes masks required when you call an Uber, Lyft or use any other transportation services available to the general public, or if you’re outside at a gathering of 10 or more people and you can’t maintain 6 feet of separation.

The order did outline a few exceptions like children under the age of 2 don’t have to wear a mask.

You don’t have to wear a mask when eating or drinking, but you do have to cover your face when interacting with food service personnel or other customers not with your dining party.

Nor do you have to wear a mask when having a medical exam and a medical professional tells you to remove it, when you need to remove it while getting a haircut and for other personal safety reasons where it might pose a risk like “working on ladders or at a height,” while wearing “other respiratory protection,” “engaging in heavy physical exertion,” or “operating heavy equipment.”

The order also allows places of worship to “use their discretion” when establishing policies governing the use of masks and allows private clubs and gatherings not to require facemasks.

It also addresses children and directs childcare establishments and schools to develop its own policies about masks that follow guidance from public health authorities and the state’s board of education.

“Parents, guardians and caregivers are responsible for ensuring proper masking of children over the age of 2 years when in public places,” the order reads. “They must also ensure that the face-covering does to pose a choking hazard for children and can be safely worn without obstructing a child’s ability to breathe.”

A copy of the order can be found at www.madisoncountyal.gov/home/show document?id=7119.

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