Health Order Now in Place

Gov. Kay Ivey

MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) on Thursday issued a statewide health order to aid in Alabama’s efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Laws effective Statewide through at least April 5

• All gatherings of 25 persons or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited. This Order shall apply to all gatherings, events, or activities that bring 25 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time.

 • Any restaurant, bar, brewery, or similar establishments shall not permit on-premise consumption of food or drink. Governor Ivey continues to encourage patrons to visit their local eateries for take-out or delivery provided the social distancing protocols are followed. 

 • All beaches are now closed.

 For clarification, the term “beach” means the sandy shoreline area abutting the Gulf of Mexico, whether privately or publicly owned, including beach access points.

 • Most Preschools and childcare centers are now closed. This shall not apply to licensed childcare centers that provide services exclusively to employees with state and local Governments, first responders (including EMS and fire services), law enforcement, hospitals, nursing home/long term care facilities (including assisted living and specialty care assisted living facilities), end stage renal disease treatment centers, pharmacies and grocery stores.

 • Effective immediately, all hospitals and nursing home/long term care facilities (including assisted living and specialty care assisted living facilities) shall prohibit visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations such as maternity and end-of-life.

 • All elective dental and medical procedures shall be delayed, effective immediately.

Governor Ivey stated, “Despite our best efforts, the threat of the Covid-19 virus continues to spread. Unfortunately, we have not yet reached peak impact. The decision to place regulations upon Alabamians living in Jefferson County and its surrounding counties was an effort to contain the area in which the virus has been prevalent in our state.

As of Friday night before press time 103 individuals have tested positive for the Coronavirus in Alabama and two here in the Shoals.

“Ivey added, “While I am pleased that many of our citizens are self-regulating and are practicing social distancing, we want to ensure that Alabama is doing our part to flatten the curve.

“Closing Alabama beaches is not a simple decision, but one that I came to after consultation with our elected officials along the coast and members of my administration. After many conversations with local leaders, I have decided to close beach access in any form. Since we do not want to promote social gatherings, keeping the beaches open sends the wrong message to the public. At this moment, the safety and wellbeing of Alabamians is paramount.

 “In addition, we rely heavily upon our first responders and critical healthcare workers to help those who are ill and essential state government employees to keep the continuity of government. Many of them struggle with dependent childcare if daycares close. As a result, I have asked the Alabama Department of Human Resources and the Alabama Department of Public Health to explore emergency rulemaking to make critical exemptions to allow for daycare to be provided for these areas of crucial personnel. 

“My administration – and all the services of state government – are going to be as flexible as humanly possible to help make your government work for you during the coming days and weeks. I want to the thank the people of our great state for their continued patience and for taking great care of themselves and each other during this pandemic.” 

Alabama’s State Health Officer, Dr. Scott Harris, stated, “We understand that the health orders issued will be a hardship on Alabamians.  However, we must first and foremost protect the health and safety of our citizens.  This decision has not been made lightly and will help to prevent the spread of this virus.”

Guardsmen Available

On Friday, March 20, Governor Ivey announced that she has given authorization to Adjutant General, Sheryl Gordon, with the Alabama National Guard to activate up to 100 guardsmen, should the need arise to combat COVID-19.

 There is no determined need for formal assistance at this time, nor is there a plan for the Guard to operate as any type of enforcement of public health orders. This action strictly serves as a preparedness measure, should first responders or health care providers need additional support. As of Friday, Alabama has 106 confirmed cases of COVID-19.