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Governor issues ‘safer at home’ order

Alabama’s stay-at-home order ends Thursday at 5 p.m., to be replaced by the new “Safer at Home” regulations announced by Gov. Kay Ivey Tuesday morning.

As the number of coronavirus cases statewide continues to mount, totaling 6,644 by midday Friday, Ivey and State Health Officer Scott Harris touted a “leveling off” of new cases per day, at around the 200 mark, as they announced a slight relaxing of the state’s orders designed to combat the pandemic.

As of midday Tuesday, Franklin County had recorded 43 cases and 424 total tests. The state had reported a total 75,138 tests and 242 deaths statewide.

Although Ivey emphasized “the threat of COVID-19 is not over,” she added “it’s now time that we also focus on our economic health.” To that end, a number of businesses across the state are being permitted to reopen under the new orders, albeit with continuing restrictions in place.

Under the new order, individuals are recommended to still minimize leaving their homes and, when they do leave home, are encouraged to wear face coverings in public. Frequent hand washing and disinfecting are also still strongly recommended.

Perhaps the biggest change in the new orders is the reopening of all retail stores across the state. To protect against coronavirus transmission, however, retailers are required to limit occupancy to no more than 50 percent; maintain social distancing of 6 feet among customers; and adhere to strict sanitation guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and the Alabama Department of Public Health.

Many businesses’ doors will remain closed during this phased reopening of the economy, including bowling alleys, theaters, auditoriums, museums, indoor play areas, gyms and spas. Close-contact service providers must also stay closed for now, like hair and nail salons and barber shops.

Restaurants can continue to offer take-out and drive-through options only, for now. Non-work gatherings of more than 10 people continue to be prohibited.

The new regulations are in effect until May 15 at 5 p.m. as the state continues to analyze the new number of coronavirus cases and watches for a trending decrease.

“It’s certainly been a challenging month, for sure, but better days are ahead of us,” said Ivey, as she thanked the people of Alabama for their response thus far.

Free COVID-19 testing is available in Franklin County, at the Franklin County Health Department. To be tested, a person must be 19 or older and must be symptomatic – with fever, cough or shortness of breath – and meet one of these conditions:

  • Be 65 or older
  • Be a healthcare worker
  • Have a condition that places the patient at higher risk, like chronic lung disease, diabetes, immunocompromised or currently pregnant, among others.

Testing will be offered at the health department every Tuesday and Thursday from 9-11:30 a.m. A physician referral is recommended. For an appointment call 256-332-2700. Those arriving for testing should remain in their cars.

Anyone leaving home must maintain 6 feet of separation from other people.

For the complete text of the Safer at Home order, visit https://governor.alabama.gov/newsroom/2020/04/governor-ivey-issues-safer-at-home-order/.

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