From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Gov. Kay Ivey has issued a statewide public health order closing restaurants, bars, childcare facilities and beaches in the state of Alabama. Bars may offer sealed containers to go and restaurants may provide to go orders and curb service.
Gatherings of 25 people or more are prohibited unless a 6-foot distance between people can be maintained. Childcare and preschool facilities must close down at 5 p.m. on Thursday and remain closed until April 6. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are to not permit visitors.
Following in the same vein as the Birmingham-metro area service industry ban, restaurants statewide can only offer to-go orders and curbside service.
“Despite our best efforts, the threat of the Covid-19 virus continues to spread and, unfortunately, we have not yet reached peak impact,” Ivey said in the statement released Thursday. “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.”
Photos and videos of spring breakers packing the beaches have flooded social media and have been featured in local and national news stories in the last 24 hours.
“Closing Alabama beaches is not a simple decision but one that I came to with the consultation of our elected officials along the coast and members of my administration,” Ivey said. “After many rounds of conversations with local leaders, in which we discussed several options, 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.”
Here’s the full text of the order, which is in effect through April 6:
- 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 include maintaining a consistent six-foot distance between persons are followed.
- All beaches will be closed effective today at 5:00 p.m. For clarification, the term “beach” means the sandy shoreline area abutting the Gulf of Mexico, whether privately or publicly owned, including beach access points.
- Preschools and childcare centers will be closed effective at close of school or business today. 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.