Ivey extends Safer at Home Order through Dec. 11; business restrictions eased

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey addresses the state Thursday morning, Nov. 5, 2020. (Office of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Amid an increasing number of deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 across the state, Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday extended Alabama’s Safer at Home Order, including the state’s mask mandate, while also relaxing occupancy restrictions on retailers, gyms and fitness centers and entertainment venues. In addition, according to the updated order, an exception to social-distancing rules will be allowed for many businesses—including barber shops, hair salons, gyms and restaurants—if people are wearing masks and separated by an “impermeable” barrier.

The governor extended the Safer at Home Order through Friday, Dec. 11 at 5 p.m. It had been set to expire Nov. 8.

“More than 3,000 Alabamians have died from this deadly virus,” said Ivey. “While obviously some folks are more susceptible to COVID-19 because of age and preexisting conditions, no one is immune as we are all capable of contracting this virus.”

Almost 200,000 Alabamians – 22,472 in the last 14 days – have been infected since the beginning of the pandemic, according to State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. Bama Tracker, which draws its data from the Alabama Department of Public Health, said Alabama reported 1,381 cases (1,151 confirmed plus 230 probable) and 19 deaths Thursday morning.

“I must admit when we issued that first State of Emergency back in March, most of us had hoped that we would not even be having to worry about COVID in November,” Ivey said. “Yet here we are, eight months later, and our state, our nation and our world are still grappling with how to keep people safe, while at the same time ensuring that those who have jobs can keep on working and those businesses that have been sidelined can get back to work sooner rather than later.”

The governor spoke of balancing health concerns with economic ones.

“In order to alleviate the burdens put on our retailers, small businesses and restaurant owners, we’ll be rolling back restrictions based on the occupancy rate,” Ivey said. “Moving forward, these businesses can resume their quote ‘normal’ operations in terms of the number of patrons that are allowed inside their establishment as long as they are wearing a mask and complying with other sanitation guidelines. Also, our close-contact service providers- like hair salons, nail salons and spas- will be permitted to increase capacity by maintaining sanitation and social distance guidelines. Specifically, for restaurants, if they install Plexiglass partitions, or some other divider, then they will be able to increase the number of patrons that they are serving daily. The key to all this is if you mask up and social distance, you can increase occupancy in your businesses.”

According to the Governor’s Office, here’s what is staying the same with the updated Order:

  • MASKS IN SCHOOLS- Masks required in schools and colleges, where possible, for employees and students in second grade and above
  • MASKS- Masks required in public when interacting within 6 feet with people of another household, subject to certain exceptions
  • ENTERTAINMENT VENUES- SUCH AS ARCADES, THEATERS, BOWLING ALLEYS- May open subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines
  • ATHLETIC ACTIVITIES- Allowed subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines
  • EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS- May open subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines
  • CHILD DAY CARE FACILITIES- May open subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines
  • SUMMER CAMP- May open subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines
  • INDIVIDUALS- Encouraged to stay home and follow good sanitation practices
  • EMPLOYERS- Businesses may open subject to sanitation and social-distancing guidelines
  • RETAIL STORES- Subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules
  • MEDICAL PROCEDURES
  • Allowed unless prohibited in the future by the State Health Officer to preserve resources necessary to diagnose and treat COVID-19; providers must follow COVID-19-related rules and guidance from state regulatory boards or public health authorities
  • HOSPITALS AND NURSING HOMES
  • Subject to restrictions, patients and residents will be allowed visits from one caregiver or one visitor at a time
  • SENIOR CITIZEN CENTERS
  • Regular programming still suspended except meals still available through curbside pick-up or delivery
  • NON-WORK GATHERINGS
  • Still required to maintain 6 feet of distance between persons not from same household
  • RESTAURANTS, BARS AND BREWERIES
  • May open with limited table seating, 6 feet between tables and subject to additional sanitation rules and guidelines
  • ATHLETIC FACILITIES – SUCH AS FITNESS CENTERS AND COMMERCIAL GYMS
  • Athletic facilities may open subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines
  • CLOSE-CONTACT SERVICE PROVIDERS- Close-contact service providers (such as barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo services) may open subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines
  • BEACHES- Open with no limit on gatherings. Must maintain 6 feet of separation.

 

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Wendy Sack

wendy@cullmantribune.com