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What you need to know about Alabama’s stay-at-home order

Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health issued a statewide stay-at-home order Friday. Here’s what you need to know.

What is the bottom line?

Stay at home if at all possible.

“The default position for everyone is they need to stay at home. We need to stay at home if at all possible,” State Health Officer Scott Harris said.

When does it start?

The order goes into effect at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 4.

How long does it remain in effect?

The order is to remain in effect until Thursday, April 30 at 5 p.m., but it could be extended.

Why are we doing this?

By following these guidelines, you’re protecting the people who work in your community in essential functions. You’re also protecting yourself and the health care workers like nurses and doctors in the community so they won’t get sick.

Staying at home protects all of us, and it protects our hospitals from being overwhelmed by a surge of COVID-19 patients. Hospitals’ ability to care for those who are most vulnerable depends on not being overwhelmed.

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What will happen if I don’t follow the order?

Not following the order can result in misdemeanor charges, fines and jail time, enforceable by all law enforcement agencies statewide.

Can I still go to the grocery store?

Yes. Buying food — whether from a grocery store or from another store or restaurant (take-out or delivery) — is considered an essential activity and is allowed.

What are “essential activities”? 

  • You can still leave your home to obtain necessary supplies such as: Food, pet food, distance learning and educational materials, supplies needed to work from home, prescriptions and medical supplies, fuel and supplies for vehicles.

For what other reasons can I leave home?

  • Dental, medical, or surgical procedures, government-funded benefits, automobile repairs.
  • Services to care for people with physical, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, or substance-use disorders. Educational services and services to maintain a person or pet’s health and safety.
  • To take care of a family member, friend or pet in another home, to donate blood, or take a family member, friend or pet to places allowed in Ivey’s order.

Are religious services exempted?

Some religious services are exempted:

  • You can leave home to attend a religious service, wedding or funeral, as long as 10 or fewer people are present and six-feet of distance is kept between people, and drive-in religious services.

What about my job?

Ivey’s order allows people to leave home to:

  • Work at an essential business.
  • Maintain the value of a business.
  • Work to enable people to work or shop remotely from home, or buy products through drive-by, curbside, or door- to-door delivery.
  • Work that does not require any regular interaction within six feet of another person.

What about getting outside for a while or leaving home during an emergency like severe weather?

People can still leave home to:

  • Engage in outdoor activities as long as 10 or fewer people participate and stay at least 6 feet from one another.
  • To take shelter if required by an employer of essential business, or if a person’s home is unsafe or at risk of becoming unsafe.
  • Fulfill the direction of a police officer or court order.
  • To see a family member

What’s closed under this order?

All non-essential businesses, which include:

  • Night clubs, bowling alleys, movie theaters and auditoriums, arcades, concert venues, tourist attractions, race tracks, bingo halls and casinos.
  • Athletic facilities including gyms, spas and spectator sports.
  • Close-contact businesses such as barbershops and salons, massage therapy and tanning salons.

What about restaurants? 

Dine-in is prohibited at all restaurants and bars, but take-out and delivery remain open.

Are there more exemptions?

Yes, but as State Health Officer Scott Harris said, the default assumption should be to stay at home unless you are engaging in essential activity.

“It’s not a list of things to look for and see if you can figure out a way to not keep yourself at home,” Harris said. “We need Alabamians to make sure that they stay at home. Things will look a lot different in our state in the next two or three weeks if we can just get people to see that and to agree to do that.”

Can I read the full order?

Yes, a copy of the full stay-at-home order is available here.

Eddie Burkhalter
Written By

Eddie Burkhalter is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or reach him via Twitter.

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