More businesses and facilities will soon be able to reopen.
Gov. Kay Ivey announced Thursday the current safer-at-home order is set to expire Friday at 5 p.m. and an amended safer-at-home order will expand the number of businesses allowed to reopen, which will run through July 3.
Although 6-foot distancing and extra preventative measures should be taken, childcare facilities, schools, entertainment venues and youth sports and athletic events may resume under specific guidelines.
“We have more things opening but there is more guidance on safety and behavior and practices we’d like to see these businesses and people maintain,” state health officer Dr. Scott Harris said. “These are simple changes in our behavior but save lives and they are important. Now more than ever, we need people to take social distancing seriously. The best thing is to watch our own behavior.”
Childcare facilities may reopen with no maximum or number limit on children but adults must continue to maintain 6-foot distances.
Performing arts venues must limit occupancy to 50%; employees must continue wearing masks and guests should practice social distancing. Venues to reopen include bowling alleys, arcades, concert venues, auditoriums, performing centers, tourist attractions, public playgrounds, casinos, etc.
The new order removes the closure of schools as state superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey continues to work on a plan and individual schools and colleges may make their own decisions on reopening.
Youth sports and athletic events are allowed to resume under the new order including practices, conditioning and drills but direct competition is not allowed until June 15.
“If things don’t get worse, we’re going to continue putting personal responsibility on each and every individual citizen, which extends to store owners, hair stylists, youth sports coaches, pastors; it takes all of us being vigilant and adhering to social distancing guidelines to stop the spread of the virus,” Ivey said. “We also reserve the right to reverse this course if things don’t go as planned.”
Long-term care facilities are still a hot bed for the coronavirus and therefore visitation is still restricted to compassionate care only.
For other areas of residents’ livelihoods, Ivey said people cannot sustain a delayed way of life as the search for a vaccine continues.
“It’s time to move forward and further open our state and live with a new normal while incorporating COVID-19 precautions into our routines,” Ivey said. “Like with the flu and other viruses, with no known cure, it’s not realistic to think we’re able to keep everyone totally isolated forever.”
Ivey said the threat of COVID-19 is not over but there must be a balance between economic and public health.
Ivey and Harris both emphasized the need for personal responsibility and to do what is best for individuals and their families.
“Having a life means having a livelihood too,” Ivey said. “It’s important to go back to work and open the economy but also we all have got to take personal responsibility.”
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