Ivey extends current health order to July 31 with no major changes
MONTGOMERY – Governor Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris on Tuesday extended the state’s current health order until July 31 at 5:00 p.m. with no major changes.
Ivey and Harris made the announcement at a 10:00 a.m. press conference in the Alabama State Capitol.
The order allows every company and institution in the state to remain open but continues to limit capacity for several businesses. It also keeps in place certain requirements like masks for restaurant employees, as well as various social distancing and sanitation measures.
You can view the new order here.
You can view Yellowhammer News’ live tweet thread from the press conference here.
Ivey told the public that she and Harris “reserve the right to come back and reverse course” with regards to the state’s reopening plans.
Yellowhammer News has contacted the governor’s office and the Alabama Department of Public Health for clarifications on what benchmarks Alabama would need to hit that the governor would start seriously considering measures that would “reverse course” on the state’s reopening.
“When you’re in public, for goodness sake, wear a mask,” urged Ivey at the press conference.
The governor that she would not put in place a statewide mask order, which has been implemented by more than 10 states, because in her view such an order would be unenforceable at the state level.
The governor did not comment on the local mask ordinances put in place by cities around the state, which she has chosen to leave in place up to this point.
“We’re still in the thick of this virus and disease, which is deadly,” warned Ivey at the beginning of her remarks.
Ivey briefly took questions at the end of the remarks and was asked why she hadn’t chosen to take more extensive measures like Texas and Florida, which have both closed their bars and breweries again.
She said she believes the real problem is that people “aren’t following the restrictions we’ve already put in place” and therefore new restrictions would not be helpful.
Harris responded to a question near the end of the briefing and said in part that “there is not an appetite for new restrictions” at the current time.
He followed Ivey at the podium to give an update on the state’s health statistics, saying that Alabama has seen around 10,000 new confirmed cases in the last 14 days, which makes up almost a third of everyone who has been diagnosed in the state since the pandemic began.
Harris added that the percent of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 is “as high as it has ever been,” which means that the rise in cases is not due to increased testing capacity.
Alabama’s state health officer said that people over 65-years-old have made up more than 75% of Alabama’s coronavirus deaths, while only being around 18% of the state’s total confirmed cases.
He said one in nine of Alabama’s seniors confirmed to have caught COVID-19 perished from the disease.
Alabama currently has 715 COVID-19 patients in the hospital according to BamaTracker, and Harris said on Monday that the state has 275 intensive care unit beds left open.
State Representative Dexter Grimsley (D-Newville) joined Ivey and Harris at the press conference on Tuesday.
He spoke with emotion about his sister, a healthcare worker, who recently died from COVID-19 at age 58.
“It is not too hard to wash your hands,” said Grimsley. He further urged mask-wearing and social distancing.
This is breaking news and will be updated.