Just one day after announcing that public schools across the state would stay closed, Gov. Kay Ivey ordered that “non-essential businesses” in the state close.
The closures took effect at 5 p.m. on March 28 and will be shut down through April 17. These closures include entertainment venues, barber shops, nail salons, fitness centers and gyms, casinos, spas and many other businesses.
All other businesses not listed below may remain open. Restaurants may continue to serve take-out and delivery orders. Hospital food service areas can continue to serve food like normal.
At a press conference Ivey reiterated that she was not ordering a “shelter-in-place” on the state but urged Alabama residents to limit contact with others as much as possible as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to grow in the state.
Earlier in the week Ivey had repeatedly emphasized that she did not plan to implement the “shelter-in-place” order.
“Folks, at this point, we have no current plans (for a shelter-in-place order),” she said during a conference call on March 24. “We have seen other states in the country doing that as well as other countries.
“But however, y’all, we are not California, we’re not New York and we aren’t even Louisiana. Alabama will continue to work in consultation with Dr. Harris and his team and we’ll make that decision if and when it’s best for our state but as for now, we’re not planning to issue that (order).”
She placed emphasis on keeping the economy in the state going as being essential during that same conference call.
“We must do everything we can to keep businesses open and if they are closed get them back open as soon as possible,” Ivey emphasized. “The safety and well-being of Alabamians is paramount, however, I agree with President (Donald) Trump who thinks a healthy and vital economy is just as essential to our quality of life.
“Manufacturers and business owners are producing the medicines, the protective health equipment and the food we need. It’s a balance and we’re trying to strike the appropriate balance as we move forward.”
Ivey has already ordered the closure of beaches, senior citizen centers and schools. Also, all dental, medical or surgical procedures should be postponed unless “necessary to treat an emergency medical condition.” That is defined as “a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain, psychiatric disturbances and/or symptoms of substance abuse) such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected by a person’s licensed medical provider to result in placing the health of the person in serious jeopardy or causing serious impairment to bodily functions or serious dysfunction of bodily organ.”
Child daycare facilities were also ordered to be closed, “including any child daycare facility at which 12 or more children are in a room or other enclosed or separated space at the same time.”
Ivey’s order also limits “non-work gatherings” to just 10 people across the state and those found in violation of that order could face a fine of $500.
These orders will remain in effect until 5 p.m. on April 17 and a determination will be made before that on whether the order should be extended.
“Folks, this is incredibly disappointing news to deliver, but this is a matter of life and death,” Ivey said. “If you can stay at home, you are safer at home. I can’t stress to you enough that we must take this deadly virus seriously. I assure you I’m doing everything in my power and using every available resource to protect Alabama.”
As of March 30, 830 people in the state have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and six people have passed away as a result of the disease. According to the ADPH, more than 6,500 people have been tested thus far.
As the number of cases in the state grows, Alabama Department of Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris emphasized that Alabama’s scarce supply of COVID-19 tests made it very important to ration those test kits to a degree. “People that do not have symptoms do not need to be tested,” Harris said.