Lt. Gov. Ainsworth

On April 14, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that she had put together a number of teams and groups that would be providing reports to her on potential ways to reopen the economy in Alabama, and the first to present a plan to her was Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth on April 17.

Ainsworth’s plan – called the “Reopen Alabama Responsibly: Phase I” report – provided recommendations to the state on how to start the reopening of the economy. Ainsworth’s Small Business Emergency Taskforce and a subcommittee of business leaders, which also included both Democratic and Republican members of the Alabama Legislature, put the report together.

“Our report provides an effective roadmap for safely reopening business, restoring commerce and recharging Alabama’s economy, while at the same time protecting the public health,” Ainsworth said. “It allows stores, restaurants, entertainment venues and businesses of all sizes to once again open their doors because when it comes to restarting our economy and putting people back to work, every business is an essential business.”

Ainsworth and State Representative Danny Garrett (R-Trussville) – who also serves as the subcommittee’s chairman – reached out to business owners across a number of different industry sectors as the report was put together.

Phase I of Ainsworth’s plan would allow for the reopening of virtually all businesses across the state, but with restrictions, on May 1. Moving on to Phase II – which would be the loosening of those restrictions – would require the state meet certain levels of decline in COVID-19 cases over an extended period.

The plan would call for businesses to strictly monitor the health of all employees and placing any employee that displays symptoms of COVID-19 on sick leave immediately. It also would limit the number of people allowed inside a place of business at one time and call for businesses to increase the frequency of sanitizing and cleaning measures.

This plan would also require businesses to continue to enforce social distancing in all areas of the place of business and establish measures to limit interaction between employees and customers.

The 135-page report provides recommendations to each industry in the state. For restaurants, this plan would allow for the reopening of lobbies and dining in but additional guidelines required for this would require restaurants to adhere to social distancing including between tables and booths.

For “close contact services,” like nail salons and barbershops, it would require employees to wear personal protective equipment – specifically facemasks and gloves – and providing services by appointment only.

Beaches would also be allowed to reopen but the sizes of groups on the beach would be restricted and certain beach activities would be limited along with continue to enforce social distancing guidelines.

Movie theaters and other entertainment venues would be allowed to reopen with a 35 percent capacity and the requirement that employees temperatures are regularly checked.

Youth sports would also be allowed to return with emphasis on the monitoring of the health of officials, coaches and players.

To read the detailed plan in its entirety visit, https://ltgov.alabama.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/Reopening-Alabama-Responsibly-Phase-1.pdf.

This plan used, in part, the federal governments “Road Map to Reopening” plan put together by the American Enterprise Institute as a guideline. That plan includes four phases in reopening the economy nationwide.

Phase I of the federal government’s “roadmap” is about slowing the spread, Phase II is reopening economies state by state, Phase III lifts all restrictions and Phase IV concentrates on readiness for future pandemics.

Ivey has asked for plans for reopening the economy from Alabama’s congressional leaders as well as State Public Health Official Dr. Scott Harris, and a decision would be made “on or before April 28” on how the state will move forward.

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