Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health said Friday that a public health order issued Thursday is not meant to apply to work-related gatherings of 25 people or more.
“In order to keep Alabama going, we must keep Alabama businesses going to the best of our abilities,” Ivey said. “I fully support the restrictions of social or recreational gatherings of 25 people or less and strongly encourage individuals to maintain a six-foot distance. However, this order was intended to apply to non-work-related gatherings. However, employers should take all necessary steps to meet these standards for employees and customers.”
The newly clarified rules say that, effective today, all non-work related gatherings of 25 persons or more, or non-work related gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited.
“Let me be abundantly clear—I have no intention of slowing down our workforce through unnecessary, burdensome regulations,” Ivey said. “We will only be able to mitigate the risk of the virus through the efforts of our hardworking manufacturers that will produce life-sustaining supplies, our truckers who move these goods down the road, and our valued retailers that will make them available to our citizens.”
The order does state that employers “shall take all reasonable steps to meet” health safety standards “for employees and customers.”
The updated order also expands the availability of child daycare in the state as long as certain guidelines are followed and includes clarifying language regarding senior citizen centers and schools.
“As our state works in overdrive to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are making decisions based on the best information we have in the moment. I have no doubt that as this situation rapidly unfolds, decisions will need to be evaluated and amended,” Ivey said. “Yesterday’s health order was issued to be as comprehensive as possible to combat the spread of the virus and to ensure the state was doing everything within its authority to protect the people of Alabama.”
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said Friday, “Alabamians must cooperate, understand their actions affect other people, and take seriously the need to protect health and safety, because COVID-19 is a deadly virus.”