As Alabama’s statewide mask mandate is set to expire on Friday, Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth again called on the governor to immediately lift the restriction, calling it a “Big Brother-style” regulation.

“I urge Gov. Kay Ivey to immediately lift the statewide mask mandate and allow citizens and local officials the liberty to make the decisions that best fit their circumstances,” said Ainsworth, who has called for nixing the restriction every time it has come up for renewal.

Unless extended by Ivey, the order requiring facial coverings in public areas and schools is set to expire Friday at 5 p.m. The order was first put in place in July among a surge of COVID cases and hospitalizations.

Ainsworth has said the mandate is “an overstep that infringes upon the property rights of business owners and the ability of individuals to make their own health decisions.”

Meanwhile, the lieutenant governor still urged Alabamians to practice social distancing and “good hygiene” until the state reaches “adequate vaccination and immunity levels.” As of Wednesday, Alabama has administered 944,795 coronavirus vaccines and those numbers are expected to continue to rise as Johnson and Johnson’s one-dose vaccine is set to arrive in the state.

But Ainsworth said Alabamians can take public health precautions “without a Big Brother-style government mandate looming over us.”

Ivey has not announced her decision about whether to extend the mask mandate, but her spokesman said the governor “has made clear that she prefers personal responsibility to government mandate.”