Allen: Churches, small businesses should open

Published 6:27 pm Monday, May 4, 2020

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Updated 6 a.m.

State Representative Wes Allen is calling for Dr. Scott Harris,  Alabama’s “unelected” chief health officer, to rescind a portion of the “Safer at Home Order” that was issued last week to allow certain close-contact businesses and churches to reopen.

The order, which is technically issued by the Alabama Department of Public Health, was announced by Gov. Kay Ivey on April 28. The safer-at-home order allows the reopening of all retail stores, at 50 percent capacity, as well as the reopening of beaches and the resumption of non-emergency and elective medical procedures. Salons, barbershops, gyms, tattoo parlors, bars and on-site restaurant dining will remain closed until the evening of May 15.

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Social distancing guidelines remain in place, including those based on CDC recommendations limiting gatherings to more than 10 people.

“Like everyone else I look forward to easing back to our routines with caution,” Ivey said announcing the safer-at-home order that took place at 5 p.m. April 30. Since then, dozens of smaller retail businesses in Troy and Brundidge have reopened and Troy Regional Medical Center has resumed non-elective procedures.

Allen said it makes no sense for liquor stores and big-box retail stores to be open when barbershops, cosmetologists and churches are shut down.

“With the re-opening of these close-contact businesses, we could still keep the safe distancing restrictions in place. We could keep the sanitation  restrictions in place and we could keep the capacity restrictions in place,” Allen said.

“It is time for these businesses to re-open.”

Allen said Harris is not elected by the voters, so he is accountable to no one.

“And, he is not accountable to the small businesses he is hurting right now,” Allen said.

“There is no accountability. There is no logic. There is no common sense.

“It is time for the small businesses to reopen. Immediately.”

Allen said nobody wants to contract the coronavirus and it is his belief that people will do their best to stay safe.

“I believe people will use common sense as we move forward,” Allen said. “I believe people will do their best to stay individually safe. And, I know people want to get back to work and make a living.”

Therefore, Allen said it is his belief that people, in general, will continue to use the safe practices in place to keep themselves, their families and others safe.

He also believes that business owners will have safeguards in place that will keep themselves and others safe, as well.