TUSCALOOSA (AP) — Leaders in Tuscaloosa are moving to limit nightlife in the college town during the pandemic as thousands of students return to school for the fall semester.
The Tuscaloosa News reports that a divided City Council approved a measure Tuesday night that allows Mayor Walt Maddox to enact rules aimed at combatting a surge in coronavirus cases in the city.
Among the regulations is a move to reduce the capacity at bars to 50% after 9 p.m.; there’s currently no limit. Another rule would reduce the occupancy of entertainment venues to 25%, down from 50%.
The limits, which are expected to take effect Thursday, are in addition to statewide rules that include masks for anyone who is in public and can’t socially distance.
“To take no action is to resign Tuscaloosa to a health care and economic fate that we would regret,” Maddox said Wednesday. “The stakes have never been higher on this issue.”
Students already are arriving for the fall at the University of Alabama, where classes begin Aug. 19. The city of about 100,000 people also is home to Shelton State Community College and Stillman College.
Maddox said it might be impossible the protect Tuscaloosa residents from the spread of the coronavirus without additional rules. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tuscaloosa County has grown by 750, almost 23%, over the past two weeks.