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Statewide Order in Effect
Effective Friday, May 22 at 5 p.m. and running until 5 p.m. on July 3, Gov. Ivey and the State Public Health Officer Scott Harris have expanded the statewide Safer At Home order to allow more businesses to open while still maintaining social distancing and in many cases requiring employees to wear masks to prevent the spread. The Governor announced the changes at a press conference Thursday in Montgomery.
Harris and Ivey emphasized that personal responsibility in social distancing and wearing face covering is even more important now that the state is reopening.
Under the updated order, additional venues can open at 50% capacity but are required to also have additional protective measures in place. Under the order, summer camps and entertainment venues can open including “bowling alleys, arcades, concert venues, theaters, auditoriums, performing centers, tourist attractions (including museums and planetariums), race tracks, commercial or public playgrounds, adult entertainment venues, casinos, and bingo halls.” On Friday, May 22, Jefferson County Health Officer Mark Wilson delayed the opening of those entertainment venues until June 6 for the state’s most populous county.
The state order allows the opening of schools and re-commencement youth sports for practices, though competitions between teams are still prohibited until at least mid-June. More details are available at the links below.
- Safer at Home Order
- Safer at Home Info Sheet 1
- Safer at Home Info Sheet 2
- Safer at Home Info Sheet 3
- Tenth Supplemental State of Emergency
This is an expansion of the revised orders that began a gradual reopening earlier this month. Barbershops, salons, gyms, and fitness facilities were allowed to reopen, but at reduced accompany and with masks required for employees. Gatherings of any size, including church services, are allowed but those gatherings must be able to maintain a six-foot distance between participants. Restrictions on visitation at nursing homes remain in effect.
Ivey reminded Alabamians that COVID-19 is a “serious and deadly disease” and that Alabama is not seeing drop[ing case or death numbers. “The numbers are not as good as we would hope,” Ivey said.
The easing came on the same day it was announced a surge in cases in the Montgomery metro area has led to its intensive care units to fill. New patients will be diverted to hospitals in Birmingham.
Using data gathered by Johns Hopkins University and made available to the public, PARCA designed the visualization below, which allows the user to focus on Alabama and individual counties. This can allow for the identification of outbreaks or rising numbers of new cases or elevated levels of new deaths linked to the Coronavirus. A seven-day average is provided because the state is releasing data in batches: sometimes a small number of cases and sometimes a double load as appears to have occurred on May 20. The Alabama Department of Public Health Dashboard that follows includes a daily tally in which the reports are reassigned to the day of occurrence.
Alabama Department of Public Health provides daily updates to a dashboard displaying confirmed Coronavirus cases across the state. A second tab at the bottom of the map switches the view through a variety of Coronavirus statistics, like daily trends and averages, rates by county, hospitalizations, and demographics of those affected.
A note of caution. The true extent of the virus is unknown. The number of confirmed cases does not equate to the prevalence of the virus in a county. Testing is not uniformly available and results take time to process. One should assume that the virus is present and will spread unless protective measures are followed.
If you want to compare Alabama to other states, this Tableau site created by Jonas Nart allows you to choose which states you want to compare on a variety of measures.
The New York Times is graphing the trajectory of the disease in various countries and U.S. states.
Need Help, Give Help
Statewide guide to COVID-19 relief efforts, altogetheralabama.org. includes a guide to resources for businesses, nonprofits, communities, and individuals. The offerings are vast from food assistance to finding a new job, to gaining internet access. Healthcare, childcare, unemployment relief, and emergency loans and grants for individuals and businesses can be found here.
The Governor’s Coronavirus Resource Site also has a wide array of additional information on the state government response.
Some news sources have set up pages dedicated to Coronavirus coverage. For the latest news:
- AL.com (Covers Birmingham. Mobile, Huntsville)
- Anniston Star
- Birmingham Watch
- Dothan Eagle
- Tuscaloosa News
Law firms around the state have established websites with descriptions of new laws and legal situations arising from the Coronavirus outbreak. Some examples include:
- Balch & Bingham
- Maynard Cooper
- Hand Arendall
- Lanier Ford
- Baker Donelson
- Butler Snow
- Burr & Forman
The Alabama Department of Labor is accepting applications for unemployment benefits for workers laid off due to business closures. This document provides guidance on who is eligible.
The State is asking employers to file on employees’ behalf for COVID-19 related layoffs. Such filings will not affect the rate businesses pay on unemployment insurance for employees, thanks to a waiver announced by Gov. Kay Ivey.
On Thursday, March 26, Gov. Kay Ivey announced that K-12 schools statewide will be closed for the remainder of the school year. Schools will begin online instruction April 6.
No testing for schools
Alabama Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey announced Friday, March 20, that Alabama would not be requiring schools to administer standardized testing this school year if and when students return. Currently, schools are closed until at least April 6.
Mackey was reacting to a Trump administration announcement that states could apply for waivers from federal mandates in light of the Coronavirus outbreak. Standardized testing forms the core of state and federal education performance measurement and accountability measures. However, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced earlier in the day that the federal government would grant waivers to applying states so that schools could focus on preserving public health and plans for continuing student learning.
Mackey has appointed a task force that will be advising him and districts statewide on options available for Alabama student’s needs through the end of school-year and through summer. Mackey said they are prioritizing ways to keep high school seniors on a path to graduation and college or career.
The Department is compiling its Coronavirus related communications on its website.