Ivey scheduled a news conference for Thursday morning to discuss the pandemic. Citing the decline in cases, Republican Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth asked Ivey to end the mask requirement, which he has opposed all along.

Local governments and businesses can make their own rules if needed and individuals can make decisions for themselves and follow safety rules until vaccinations and immunity levels are sufficient, he said. “But we can do all of these things without a Big Brother-style government mandate looming over us,” he said in a statement.

The Alabama Senate on Wednesday evening also approved a resolution urging Ivey to end the mask mandate.

While the coronavirus causes only mild to moderate symptoms for most people, it is particularly dangerous for the the elderly and people with other, serious health problems.

The Alabama Hospital Association has asked Ivey to extend the mask rule, which requires facial coverings in indoor public places and outside when social distancing can’t be maintained, but the governor’s office has not said what she will do.

Ivey has said she prefers “personal responsibility” to government mandates and the state is headed in the right direction, yet “we still have some work to be done,” spokeswoman Gina Maiola said Monday.

The state’s death toll from COVID-19 hit 10,029 on Wednesday, state statistics showed, and more than 497,000 people have tested positive. Of more than 1.4 million vaccine doses delivered to providers in the state, almost 973,000 shots have been administered to patients.