Friday, State Representative Will Dismukes, R-Prattville, joined the growing chorus of political and business leaders calling on Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) to lift the shelter in place order as well as the orders forcing so-callend “non-essential” businesses to close their doors.
“How long must we wait to open Alabama up?” Rep. Dismukes said on social media. “How long must people suffer? Churches, businesses, and employees are all hanging on by a thread.”
“It is time to put the working people of Alabama back to work,” Dismukes said. “It is time to fill our church houses with people. It is time to get our economy rolling like it was before the shutdown.”
“Governor Ivey, the people of our state are suffering far worse from being shutdown than they are suffering from the virus,” Dismukes concluded. “Please listen to the majority. Listen to the working men and women. Listen to the many legislators, city council members, county commission members, and listen to the people of Alabama. Open up our state!”
The Alabama Small Business Commission, headed by Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R), released a report on Friday, April 17, urging the governor to reopen the state’s economy on May 1. Gov. Ivey has responded saying that her decision to reopen the economy would be “data driven and not date driven.”
On Friday, Ainsworth said on social media, “15 days of downward trajectory of documented cases, this continues to be a good trend. It’s time to safely reopen Alabama.”
A number of Governors have already announced plans to reopen their economies. The governor’s stay at home order is set to expire on April 30.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force is leaving the decisions on when to reopen the state economies to the governors.
“Governors will be empowered to tailor an approach that meets the diverse circumstances of their own state,” President Donald J. Trump (R) said earlier this week in a task force media briefing. “Every state is different.”
“If they need to remain closed, we will allow them to do that,” Trump said. “And if they believe it is time to reopen, we will provide them with the freedom and guidance to accomplish that task and very quickly, depending on what they want to do.”
The Alabama economy is expected to reopen in a phased approach following the Guidelines released by the White House. Employers allowed to reopen will be expected to practice social distancing and adopting practices like gloves and masks to slow the spread of the disease. Small retailers are expected to be the first businesses to be allowed to reopen; while riskier businesses like bars may have to wait for weeks or even months.
According to Fortune Magazine, 26.5 million Americans have filed initial applications for unemployment in the last five weeks due to the forced economic shutdown taking the total unemployment to 33 million Americans, a real unemployment rate of 20.4 percent. Small business advocates argue that thousands of small businesses will never reopen if this forced economic shutdown continues much longer.
As of press time, the U.S. has had 929,028 confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19. 766,153 of these are still active. 52,371 Americans have died from this, including 207 Alabamians. 110,504 have recovered from their illness and been cleared by doctors.
Dismukes is 30 years old and serving in his first term in the Alabama House of Representatives.
The legislature was scheduled to return to work on Tuesday, April 28; but decided that it was not safe enough for them to resume the business of the state; so instead will return on May 4 to pass out state budgets and their local legislation only in a week that will only last five days. The public will be barred from the Statehouse to protect legislators from the coronavirus. Hundreds of bills including the lottery, protecting kids from transgender treatments, medical marijuana, an Indian gaming compact, prison reform, sentencing reform, gun permits, etc. were killed by this decision.
Globally 198,502 people have officially died in the global pandemic.