Alabama’s ‘safer at home’ new normal begins today

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced the new “Safer at Home” order on Tuesday, April 28.Gov. Kay Ivey Office

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Under the new plan for Alabama, individuals are “encouraged” to minimize their travel, especially if sick, and to wear a mask or face covering when being around people who don’t live in their house. But masks aren’t required, there is no state law.

Most retail shops can reopen, but it won’t be like before. The state sets capacity at half whatever it was before and offers a few guidelines. But many of the other particulars – whether to provide hand sanitizer, how to arrange the aisles, how to handle waiting in line — falls to local businesses, to corporate executive, to individual shoppers across Alabama.

Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson said the order puts more responsibility on private businesses and the public to limit the spread of the virus and prevent further outbreaks in the state.

“A really important part of [Tuesday’s] new order is the emphasis on personal responsibility,” Wilson said during a town hall teleconference with U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell. “And I want everybody to pay close attention to that. We all have to continue to pay very close attention to keeping ourselves safe and keeping others safe.”

Alabama’s new “safer at home” order takes effect today at 5 p.m., allowing many businesses in the state to reopen, but with greater emphasis on social distancing and sanitation. Those changes will make visiting a record store, clothing boutique or dentist’s office feel different than it did in February.

“Reopening Alabama’s economy is certainly not as simple as flipping a switch or snapping your fingers,” Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said while announcing the order on Tuesday.

But the state did offer some new rules for the new normal:

  • Weddings and funerals are capped at no more than 10 people.
  • You can play some sports, or host a concert, but only if there are no more than 10 people and everyone can stay six feet apart.
  • Expect to have your temperature taken before seeing the dentist.
  • Many offices may not return to normal, as employers are asked to make it easier to work remotely.
  • Public playgrounds are still closed, along with gyms, spas, and sports activities that require close contact, as they have been since March.
  • Expect businesses to start wiping down touch pads and credit card readers a whole lot more.
  • You may see police patrolling the beaches, breaking up groups of more than 10.
  • No haircuts. No manicures. Not professionally. Not yet.
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