Effective Monday, May 11, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has revised her Safer at Home Order allowing a wide range of businesses to reopen and activities to resume.
The new amended Safer at Home Order relaxes most of the restrictions for businesses, workplaces, and recreation areas in Alabama.
About the Amended Alabama Safer at Home Order
When does the current Safer at Home Order expire?
- The old Safer at Home Order will expire on Monday, May 11, 2020, at 5:00 p.m., when the new order will take effect.
When does the new amended Safer at Home Order begin?
- Alabama’s new amended Safer at Home order takes effect on Monday, May 11, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.
How long does the new amended Safer at Home Order last?
- The new amended Safer at Home Order is in effect through Friday, May 22, 2020, at 5:00 p.m.
What does Alabama’s newly amended Safer at Home Order mean for me?
- This new order gives you more freedom to leave your home and allows most businesses to reopen with limitations.
Continued Recommendations for Individuals
The amended order relaxes the requirement for Alabama citizens to stay at home except when performing necessary services. That means life can begin to return to normal (but still with limitations).
Continued recommendations include:
- Minimizing travel outside the home.
- Wearing face coverings when leaving your house and entering businesses.
- Continuing diligent personal hygiene and disinfecting practices (washing hands with soap and water, disinfecting home surfaces, etc.).
- Maintaining social distancing of 6 to 10 feet for all activities outside the home.
What Business Must Do to Protect Employees and Customers from COVID-19 Exposure
The new order requires employers to take reasonable steps to protect their employees and customers from exposure to Coronavirus.
These precautions include:
- Maintaining 6 feet of separation between all people.
- Regularly disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces.
- Encouraging handwashing.
- Preventing employees who are sick from coming into contact with other persons.
- Providing remote working capability and minimizing travel whenever possible.
How the Updated Safer at Home Order Affects Alabama Businesses
Now let’s look at the specifics of Alabama’s amended Safer at Home order and what it means for different businesses. In the new order, not all businesses are treated equally.
We will review changes or lack thereof to the following types of Alabama businesses:
- Athletic facilities
- Close contact service providers
- Retail stores
- Restaurants and bars
- Businesses and activities with large crowds
- Doctor’s offices and healthcare facilities
- Schools and daycares
- Hospitals and nursing homes
- Senior Centers
Athletic facilities: Now Open with Guidelines
The new amended Safer at Home order allows many “higher-risk” businesses to now open.
Athletic facilities such as gyms, fitness centers, and playgrounds may open subject to social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
Some specific sports activities that involve prolonged close contact are still not allowed.
Close Contact Service Providers: Now Open with Guidelines
Close contact service providers may now open subject to social distancing guidelines and new sanitation rules.
These businesses include:
- hair salons
- nail salons
- tattoo services
Retail Stores: All Now Open with Limitations
Under the amended Order, all retail stores continue to remain open IF they comply with certain rules.
These rules are designed to limit close contact between people and minimize exposure to COVID-19.
The new rules require all retail stores to do the following:
- Limit the number of customers in a store to 50% of their normal occupancy rate (as established by the Fire Marshall).
- Keep customers socially distant (6 feet apart).
- Comply with sanitation guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH).
Restaurants, Bars and Breweries: Big Changes
The new amended Order now allows restaurants, bars, and breweries to open to customers dining in with the following guidelines:
- limited seating
- 6-foot distances between tables
- additional sanitation rules and guidelines
- no self-service food or beverage stations
- employees must wear face masks or other face coverings
Individuals are now allowed to consume food and beverages on the premises.
Establishments are encouraged to continue to offer food through take-out, curbside service, and delivery.
Non-Work-Related Gatherings: Remain Restricted
Large gatherings are still frowned upon under the new order.
Any group gatherings of more than 10 persons will be allowed IF they keep a distance of 6 feet between persons who are from different households.
This means that houses of worship may now host services, subject to social distancing guidelines.
“Drive-in” gatherings are still allowed if everyone stays in cars with people from their own households.
Businesses and Activities with Large Crowds: No Change
The new amended Safer at Home order allows many “higher-risk” businesses to now open, but not all. Businesses that typically have large groups of people together will remain closed.
Businesses that must still remain closed include:
- entertainment venues
- movie theatres
- bowling alleys
- night clubs
Beaches: No Change
All Alabama beaches may remain open as long as all persons maintain a consistent 6-foot distance between themselves and all persons from a different household.
This includes public and private areas and islands.
Elective Medical and Dental Procedures: No Change
The amended Order will allow physicians and dentists to continue to perform elective medical procedures unless they impact access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Providers must follow all Coronavirus rules established by regulatory boards, the ADPH and CDC.
Schools and Daycares: No Change
Schools will remain closed to in-person classes.
Child daycare facilities may remain open as long as there are not more than 12 children per room.
Hospitals and Nursing Homes: No Change
Nursing homes and hospitals must continue to restrict visitation in their facilities.
Senior Centers: Remain Closed
All Alabama Senior Citizen Centers will stay closed and continue to suspend regular programming.
Meals will still be available through curbside pick-up or delivery.
Is It a Crime to Violate the Order?
Yes. Violations of the Order are punishable by Alabama Code § 22-2-14.
What happens if you violate the Safer at Home Order?
- Any person who knowingly violates the Order can be charged with a criminal misdemeanor.
- You can be fined between $25 – $500.
However, given the Order’s exceptions are so broad, it is difficult to see how law enforcement could cite someone for a violation.
Does the Order Override Orders from Other Cities?
Governor Ivey’s Order supersedes any city orders or ordinances that are LESS strict than her amended Safer at Home Order.
That means that cities and counties are free to impose stricter measures. However, cities and counties cannot lessen the measures set forth in the Governor’s Order.
Still have questions about the new Safer at Home Order? You can find more information on the State of Alabama website here.