By Joshua Huff, sports editor
MONTGOMERY — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced during a Friday morning press conference the closure of all non-essential businesses statewide and a ban on work-related gatherings of 10 people or more effective March 28, 2020, at 5 p.m. and remaining in place until April 17 at 5 p.m.
Those non-essential business include:
- Night clubs
- Bowling Alleys
- Concert Venues
- Theaters, auditoriums, and performing arts centers
- Tourist attractions (including museums and planetariums)
- Indoor children’s play areas
- Adult entertainment venues
- Bingo Halls
- Venues operated by social clubs
Athletics facilities and actives as follows:
- Fitness centers and commercial gyms
- Spas and public or commercial swimming pools
- Toga, barre and spin facilities
- Spectator sports
- Sports that involve interaction with another person of closer than 6 feet
- Activities that require use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment
- Activities on commercial or public playground equipment
Close-contact service providers as follows:
- Hair salons
- Waxing salons
- Threading salons
- Nail salons and spas
- Body-art facilities and tattoo services
- Tanning salons
- Massage-therapy establishments and massage services
Retail Stores as follows:
- Furniture and home-furnishing stores
- Clothing, shoe and clothing accessory stores
- Jewelry, luggage and leather good stores
- Department stores
- Sporting goods stores
- Book, craft and music stores
This order follows the Jefferson County Department of Health announcing over a week ago that all non-essential businesses and services would be closed for the foreseeable future due to the risk of infection by the coronavirus.
The Birmingham City Council then followed with a shelter in place order on Tuesday, which is meant to deter people from leaving their residence for non-essential purposes. However, the order will not prevent people from leaving their homes.
Rather than shutting the entire state down, I propose a different solution. Today, I join Dr. Harris in announcing a specific list of businesses that will close until April 17. View the amended State Health Order: https://t.co/2FFyNYcFDk. #alpolitics #TogetherAL @ALPublicHealth pic.twitter.com/NdrpTW6YCz
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) March 27, 2020
On Friday, Ivey refused to call for a state-wide shelter in place order, instead deferring to mayors to enact local ordinances that best fit their situations.
“You have to consider other factors,” Ivey said of her decision to not establish a state-wide shelter in place order. “Such as the importance of keeping businesses and companies open and the economy going as much as possible. When a business closes down, it’s almost impossible to bring it back to life.”
Ivey added that those who criticize her for her inaction to provide a blanket response to the coronavirus pandemic that other factors must be taken into account, such as protecting the local economy as much as possible. She believes that Alabama’s economy does not need a full shelter in place at the moment nor in the future.
“Government can choke businesses,” Ivey said. “We do it every day with regulation and bureaucracy. Folks, if we kill businesses we can’t print enough money in Washington, D.C., to bring a dead business back to life.”
The state’s response was criticized earlier this week by Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, who sent off a letter to Ivey’s COVID-19 response team in an effort to bring light to their lack of preparation to the growing number of cases that have already begun to strain the health care industry. The letter, obtained by the Alabama Political Reporter, is highly critical of Alabama’s response to what Ainsworth believes will soon be a “tsunami” of coronavirus patients in state hospitals.
“A tsunami of hospital patients is likely to fall upon Alabama in the not too distant future, and it is my opinion that this task force and the state are not taking a realistic view of the numbers or adequately preparing for what awaits us,” Ainsworth wrote. “Every health specialist with whom I have spoken is anxious about surge capacity and has expressed doubts about our preparations.”
Ivey responded to Ainsworth’s letter on Friday by stating that raising challenges and criticisms is pointless if there are no solutions.
The number of coroanvirus cases in Alabama continues to rise with over 500 positive tests as of Thursday evening. As of Friday morning, four people in Alabama have died from coronavirus.