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Restaurants, bars, breweries and other foodservice establishments across six Central Alabama counties will no longer be allowed to serve food or drinks on-premises for at least a week.
The order will take effect at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
The new public health guidelines come as the number of coronavirus cases in Alabama continues to grow. The Alabama Department of Public Health on Tuesday issued updated guidelines in an attempt to blunt the curve of new Coronavirus infections. The order applies to Tuscaloosa, Walker, Blount, St. Clair and Shelby counties, which state health officials believe are at most risk of COVID-19 infections.
The order will be re-evaluated at the end of the week. ADPH is strongly encouraging other counties across the state to implement these guidelines, too.
Gatherings of 25 people or more where a six-foot distance cannot be maintained are also recommended against.
“These measures taken by the Alabama Department of Public Health are out of an abundance of caution in order to contain the area where the most cases of the COVID-19 are present,” Gov. Kay Ivey said Tuesday. “Alabamians living in Jefferson County and its surrounding counties are currently the most vulnerable to contracting the Coronavirus. I ask that Alabamians who live in these counties adhere to these regulations and would urge the rest of our state to do so as well, in order to mitigate the impact of the virus.”
Like state public health officials and specialists at medical centers across the country, Ivey urged Alabamians to take this disease seriously and strongly encouraged social-distancing measures.
“I am encouraged to see so many of our citizens voluntarily self-regulate by practicing social-distancing – choosing to be safe rather than sorry is always the smart move,” Ivey said. “We should not take precautionary measures for granted, but I encourage everyone to remember the old adage ‘this too shall pass.’ Adhering to smart protocol and practicing a little patience will pull us through this.”
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said the state will do whatever is needed to ensure the safety of Alabamians and stop the spread of Coronavirus.
“The measures that have been taken in Jefferson County are an important step,” Harris said. “We are taking similar actions in the surrounding counties and encouraging all counties throughout the state to follow suit.”