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Ainsworth: ‘It’s time to open back up Alabama safely’

Alabama’s stay-at-home order is set to expire in nine days, and businesses have begun to prepare themselves for operation in entirely new conditions.

Meanwhile, calls for an immediate reopening of Alabama’s economy continue as other Southern states get back to work.

The time is now, for some. Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina all announced plans to open back up to some degree. This news prompted Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth to restate his plan for a reopening under various guidelines and restrictions.

Ainsworth, joined by State Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville), published on Friday a 150-page report containing proposed guidelines under which the state’s businesses could begin operating immediately.

RELATED: Dale Jackson — Everyone needs to calm down and Governor Ivey needs to lead

Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato issued a statement on Friday in support of Ainsworth’s plan, saying, “I urge Gov. Ivey and the State Health Officer to review these recommendations and act as quickly as possible – with the safety and prosperity of all Alabamians in mind – to implement them.”

Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05), and an advisory committee of health and business leaders from his area, recommended in a statement from his office on Monday that Governor Kay Ivey immediately repeal the stay-at-home order.

Starbucks reopening on May 4. The coffee behemoth announced that it will begin reopening stores in the United States on May 4. Drive-thru operations have remained open at many of its locations during the COVID-19 crisis. With cramped seating and restrooms few want to use anyway, this has allowed Starbucks to remain in a better position than most other restaurants. Rossann Williams, president of U.S. operations for Starbucks, said the company would employ “best-in-class safety protocols.”

Unemployment. The Alabama Department of Labor (ADOL) has disbursed more than $164 million in COVID-19-related unemployment benefits, according to a release from the department on Monday. ADOL has paid $164,523,955 to 103,453 claimants over the period covering March 16 to April 18. In all, 277,607 Alabamians filed an initial unemployment claim in the weeks since March 15. Updated figures are expected to be released by ADOL on Wednesday.

Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia

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