After reiterating on April 2 that she had no intention of issuing such an order, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide “stay-at-home” order at a press conference in Montgomery on April 3.
This order goes into effect at 5 p.m. on April 4 and will expire April 30 at 5 p.m.
“I’ve always tried to find the right balance, something that was measured while not overreacting, that would look after people’s health without keeping government from choking business and commerce,” Ivey said. “I’ve also said that we would keep all options on the table.
“Alabama is seeing an increasing number of positive tests every day, with over 160 new positive (cases) yesterday and likely a greater number today. At least 34 people have died (in Alabama) including someone as young as 33 years of age.”
Ivey also pointed out that more than 200 healthcare workers in the state have been infected and that there have been multiple outbreaks at nursing homes across the state.
“Today I am convinced that our previous efforts to limit social interaction and reduce the chances of spreading the virus have not been enough and that is why I am taking this more drastic step,” she said. “(We) have tried all that we knew to do to keep from having to take this strong measure. Late yesterday it became obvious that more had to be done.
“April stands to be a very tough and potentially very deadly month. I can’t say this anymore clearly, the COVID-19 (disease) is an imminent threat of our way of life and you need to understand that we are past urging people to stay at home. It is now the law.”
Ivey said that state EMA showed cell phone data that illustrated that people were not following suggestions by the state.
Ivey said that grocery stores will be allowed to remain open and people will be allowed to continue shop at those grocery stores and pharmacies. Restaurants will be allowed to continue to provide drive-thru, curbside and delivery services, as well. Those stores remaining open will be required to have more stringent rules to ensure that social distancing guidelines are followed, however.
Stores that remain open will have to cut customers in the store down to “no more than 50 percent of the normal occupancy load as determined by the fire marshall.”
The order also states that residents can leave home to obtain supplies needed to work from home; fuel for automobiles or “other vehicles or vehicle supplies;” distance learning and other school supplies for teaching at home; and “any other supplies necessary to maintain a person’s or pet’s daily routine or to maintain the safety, sanitation and routine operation of a home residence.”
The order also permits people to leave home to “obtain or provide a necessary service,” which includes medical and dental procedures; government-funded services; automobile repair services; “services vital to the treatment or care of people with physical, intellectual or developmental disabilities, or people with substance-use disorders;” and services related to public or private distance learning.
Also, attending religious services will be permitted for worship service, weddings or funerals as long as the event involves fewer than 10 people and those people maintain a six-foot distance or the event is a “drive-in worship service” that maintains all participants remain in their vehicles and maintain the six-feet of distance between one another.
Residents are also permitted to leave to take care of a family member, friend or pet in another household or donate blood.
People that are leaving to perform work at an “essential business and operation” will also be permitted. “Essential businesses and operations” include government agencies, health-care providers, infrastructure operations, manufacturing, farming, essential retailers, restaurants, media operations, education operations, banks, legal services, construction" and many others. The full list of “essential businesses and operations” is listed below.
Residents can also leave their homes to engage in outdoor activity, including going to parks, as long as the six-foot distance between individuals is followed.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall emphasized that this statewide order would be enforced and could potentially be enforced criminally on violators. Those that violate the law – which is Section 22-2-14 of the Alabama Code – can be charged with a misdemeanor and face a fine ranging from $25 to $500. Every violation would be considered a new offense.
A separate order passed by Ivey also instructs law enforcement to "cease enforcement of any order that would result in the displacement of a person from his or her place of residence." This order prohibits any enforcement of evictions or foreclosures during the COVID-19 crisis and the order will be in effect until the end of the crisis.
Ivey pointed to the hopes of many Alabamians for summer plans and football season coming up as reasons to take this order seriously.
“If you were looking forward to this summer, for time to go walking on the sandy shores of our beaches, then we need to take this action today,” she emphasized. “If you want to be healthy this summer or are eager for a fall football season coming up, what we’re doing today gives us a better chance to do that, as well.
“Now is the time to be strong and now is the time to be together Alabama, even when we stand six feet apart.”
The full list of essential business and operations” in the order are:
-Government operations including public safety, first responders, law enforcement, fire prevention and response, courts and court personnel, military, emergency management personnel, corrections, probation officers, parole officers, child protection, child welfare, EMTs, 911 call-center employees, all workers and vendors that support law enforcement and emergency management operations and “other federal, state, tribal or local officials or employees.”
-Health-care providers and caregivers, including physicians, dentists, mental health workers, nurses, chiropractors, physical therapists, veterinarians, hospitals an clinics, medical practices, research and lab operators, hospice, health care facilities, clinical staff, nursing homes, residential health facilities, adult day care centers, blood banks, congregate-care facilities, assisted living facilities, elder care, medical wholesale and distribution, home health workers, medical supply manufacturers, medical waste disposal, hazardous waste disposal and “other ancillary healthcare services.”
-Infrastructure operations, including electric and natural gas, water utilities, nuclear facilities (and other “generating facilities”), utility poles, fuel pipelines and transmission systems, petroleum producers, telecommunications, electronic security and life safety services, wireless communication companies, communication sales, customer support services, telecommunication and data centers, cyber security operations, flood control operations, aviation, construction (on dams, airports, ports, roads, highways, mass transit), automotive repair and sales, vehicle rental, taxi services, network providers (like Uber and Lyft), freight passenger rail, motor carriers, pipelines, other transportation infrastructure and business, waste and water systems, RV parks, transportation companies (like airlines and bus lines), hazardous waste disposal, hotels and commercial lodging.
-Manufacturing facilities, including food processing; companies that produce pharmaceuticals, food additives, medical equipment, medical devices and supplies; technology, biotechnology, chemical products, telecommunications products; automotive production and supplier, airplane, ship and space vehicle or rocket manufacturers; companies involved in healthcare, energy, steel and steel products, fuel and petroleum exploration and production, lubricants, greases and engine oils, mining, national defense, sanitary and cleaning products, household products, personal care productions and products used by any other “essential business or operation.”
-Agricultural operations and farms, including food cultivation, livestock, cattle, poultry and seafood operations; transportation of agricultural products, livestock auctions, feedlots and brokers of livestock; farmer’s markets, feed stores, repairers and suppliers of agricultural equipment; gas, diesel and petroleum suppliers; companies involved with aquaculture, horticulture and chemicals, including pesticide, herbicide and fertilizer producers and distributors; forest products businesses, including logging and paper products; meat processing facilities, rendering facilities and transporters; feed processing facilities; and veterinary services.
-Essential retailers, defined as all supermarkets, food and beverage stores including liquor stores and warehouse clubs; food providers, convenience stores, office supply stores, bookstores, computer stores, pharmacies, health care supply stores, hardware stores, building material stores, stores that sell electrical and plumbing materials, gun stores, gas stations, repair stores (for auto, farm equipment, bicycle, motorcycle and boats) and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food and goods directly to residents.
-Restaurants and bars, which includes drive-thru, curbside and delivery services only.
-Essential personal services, defined as trash collection; mail and shipping services; home repair; automotive sales and repair; warehouses; distribution and fulfillment centers; kennels; animal shelters; laundromats; laundry services; drycleaners; childcare facilities; public transportation; providers of business services including security and payroll; any funeral, cemetery and related services.
-Media operations, including newspapers, digital news sites, television, radio and other media services.
-Education operations, including educators supporting public and private K-12 schools; college and universities or other educational institutions; for purposes of facilitating distancing learning and education continuity plans approved by the State Superintendent of Education; performing critical research or other essential functions; preparing and transporting distance-learning materials and meals to eligible students; and colleges providing lodging for students.
-Financial services, including banks and related financial institutions, credit unions, payday lenders, businesses that process credit card and other financial transactions and other services related to financial markets.
-Professional services, including legal services, accounting services, insurance services and real estate services that also includes appraisals and title services.
- Providers of basic necessities to economically disadvantage populations, including businesses, religious and secular non-profit organizations, food banks, homeless shelters and congregate-care facilities.
-Construction and construction-related services, including building and construction; lumber; building materials and hardware businesses; electricians; plumbers; other construction tradesmen and women; exterminators; cleaning and janitorial; HVACR and water heating businesses; painting; moving and relocating services; other skilled trades; and other related construction firms and professionals for maintaining essential infrastructure.
-Essential public services, defined as services necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences and essential business and essential business operations, including law enforcement, fire prevention and response, firearm and ammunition manufacturers and retailers, building code enforcement, security, emergency management, building cleaning including disinfection, automotive sales and repair, mortuaries and cemeteries.
-Military or defense operations, including employers and personnel who support the essential products and services required to meet national security commitments, including personnel working for companies and their subcontractors, who perform under contract to the Department of Defense providing materials and services to the DOD and government-owned/contractor-operated and government-owned/government-operated facilities.
-Religious entities, including religious and faith-based facilities, entities and groups.
-Federall-designated critical infrastructure, defined as workers and related industries identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cyber security and Infrastructure Security Agency as its “Memorandum of Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure workers during COVID-19 Response.”
-Other-state designated essential business and operations, defined as businesses and operations deemed essential by the Alabama Department of Public Health or the Alabama Emergency Agency.
-Support operations for essential businesses and operations, defined as employees, contractors, agents, suppliers or vendors of an essential business or operation as defined in the paragraph.
To read the governors entire order visit, https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/legal/assets/soe-covid19-040320.pdf.