Alabama takes next step in reopening

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey speaking at an April 21, 2020 press conference. (Source: Governor's Office)
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WTVY) -- Thursday, Governor expanded her Safer At Home order to reopen further parts of the state.

Governor Ivey's newest Safer At Home order goes into effect Friday, May 22 at 5:00 PM and runs through July 3 at 5:00 PM.

Ivey in her remarks emphasized that the state can not sustain a delayed way of life while we wait for a vaccine. She said it was time to move forward and reopen the state and integrate COVID-19 precautions into our daily lives.

The new order doesn't limit the size of gatherings however, those not from the same house must maintain social distancing.

Some of the changes with the order include reopening of entertainment venues like arcades, theaters, and bowling alleys.

Athletic events and youth sports are also allowed under the new order.
Athletic teams can start meeting and training immediately, but competitions have to hold off until June 15th.

Schools can reopen under the new order. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris says this applies mainly to educational institutions for adults, like vocational schools.

There is no longer a limit on child care facilities beyond those already in place from before the pandemic.

Ivey also said the has made agreements with Google and Apple to use their contact tracing apps built into their cell phone systems.

“For those who aren’t comfortable going back out to your favorite establishment and acting like things are back to normal, we get that, clearly we get that. In fact we don’t know when things will be truly back to normal,” said Governor Ivey.

Dr. Harris stressed that the new order is still a Safer At Home order, and he feels the safest place for those that can do so is to stay home.

Harris said there are currently around 600 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 around the state, but he is encouraged because the number of new cases each day has been relatively stable.

Some parts of the state are what Harris described as hotspots where there is more transmission of the disease, and he expects that will be the model going forward with rotating areas of higher transmission around the state.

Harris also pressed that reopening Alabama only works if everyone cooperates. He said people still need to wash their hands regularly, wear masks in public, and maintain social distancing.

“Personal responsibility is at the heart of everything we do,” said Harris. Harris said we need to remember we can pass this virus without even knowing we have it.