The Alabama director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses thanked Gov. Kay Ivey for easing capacity restrictions Thursday for state retailers, entertainment venues, and gyms, and eased social distancing requirements in restaurants, barbershops, salons and gyms, with restrictions.
“This is great news. Small businesses are doing everything they can to get through this crisis, but they’ll never make it without customers,” said NFIB state director Rosemary Elebash in a statement. “Lifting the occupancy limits on stores, fitness centers, and entertainment venues will relieve some of the financial pressure these businesses have operated under since March.”
“2020 has been tremendously challenging for small businesses, and it may be months before things get back to normal. I want to thank Governor Ivey for doing everything she can to help small businesses get through this crisis and avoid cutting jobs and closing their doors for good,” Elebash said.
Ivey’s amended “safer-at-home” order extends Alabama’s statewide mask order, but does away with her previous order, limiting occupancy to 50 percent for retailers, entertainment venues and gyms, and it will allow more customers inside restaurants, barbershops, salons and gyms, if those businesses install an “impermeable” barrier. The existing requirements to wear masks and social distance are still required for retailers, entertainment venues and gyms, however.
Ivey’s decision to extend the mask order but roll back other protective measures comes as Alabama in recent weeks has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Alabama added 1,381 new COVID-19 cases and 20 more deaths on Thursday. Nationwide, the United States reported the most cases in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic. The state’s COVID-19 hospitalizations on Election Day crossed the 1,000-mark for the fourth time in eight days, and Tuesday’s number was as high as it’s been since Aug. 27.