Safer at Home: Governor allows beaches, retail stores to reopen
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Tuesday said that retail stores, beaches and non-emergency medical procedures can resume, with limits, later this week as she announced a loosening of state restrictions because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Ivey said a “safer at home” order will take effect 5 p.m. Thursday evening when the current stay-home order expires. The restrictions will continue through May 15. Ivey said the state can “roll back” some of the restrictions that had been in place.
“Like everyone else I look forward to easing back to our routines with caution,” Ivey said in a news conference.
The changes do not go as far as Georgia’s aggressive timetable for reopening. Alabama restaurants will remain closed for on-site dining. Hair salons, nail salons, tattoo parlors and other close-contact services will remain closed.
She said the state has seen a leveling off, but not a decrease in virus cases. According to state health officials, there have been more than 6,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alabama, and at least 241 virus-related deaths.
Ivey said the state is taking a step to resume normal routines, but continued social distancing is needed to contain the spread of the virus.
“Let me be abundantly clear. The threat of COVID-19 is not over. We are still seeing the virus spread,” Ivey said.
All retail stores can open but will be limited to 50% occupancy. Beaches can open with limits to gatherings of ten people and 6 feet of separation between people.
Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak.