Gov. Kay Ivey announced Tuesday morning that Alabama's stay-at-home order will expire April 30, the original end date of the order. The state will then enter a safer-at-home order on April 30 at 5 p.m.
Under the new safer-at-home order, all retail businesses are able to reopen at 50% capacity and should enforce social distancing guidelines at all times.
All gatherings should be limited to 10 people or fewer. Any gatherings where social distancing guidelines of 6 feet between people cannot be met are prohibited, Ivey said.
“The safer-at-home order will be the beginning of what we hope and expect will be a multi-phase reopening of our state,” Ivey said.
Alabamians are encouraged to wear face coverings and urged to practice proper handwashing and other common-sense hygiene practices, Ivey said.
The new safer-at-home order is similar to the original one issued on March 22 that lasted until the stay-at-home order given April 4, Ivey said.
“Re-opening Alabama’s economy is certainly not as simple as flipping a switch or snapping your fingers,” Ivey said. “Like any good leader, I have sought council from many avenues and have received many, many recommendations.”
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The White House has recommended states that have a 14-day decline in case numbers begin a phased approach to reopening. Alabama has not yet seen a 14-day decline, meaning it's, therefore, not initiating a full phase one reopening, Alabama Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said.
Alabama has seen a flattening of case numbers, which has hovered at about a couple hundred.
“We’re very pleased at how hospitals have been able to preserve their capacity,” Harris said. “They have not had ventilator shortages like we thought. When they have that short term, they’ve been able to share among themselves.”
The safer-at-home order does not allow for close-contact services such as barbershops, restaurants or large-group worship services to reopen.
Beaches and elective medical procedures, including dental services, are permitted to reopening with the safer-at-home order. Municipalities along the coast have assured state officials they will enforce social distancing guidelines and limit gatherings to 10 people or less, Ivey said.
Many guidelines under the shelter-in-place order are still in effect. This includes closed entertainment venues and athletic facilities such as gyms.
These new guidelines will please some Alabamians and make others frustrated, Ivey said.
“Our job must be always to find the right balance, keep people safe and healthy while focusing on the economic health of the state,” Ivey said.
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