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Ivey holds press conference, still working on timeline for reopening Alabama’s economy

Governor Kay Ivey on Tuesday held a press conference at the State Capitol alongside State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, State Finance Director Kelly Butler, Alabama Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington and Alabama Superintendent of Banking Mike Hill.

Ivey did not announce a timeline for reopening Alabama’s economy.

The press conference came after the Alabama Small Business Commission Emergency Task Force’s “Subcommittee to Reopen the Economy” on Friday presented the governor with its “Reopening Alabama Responsibly Phase One” plan. Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth (R-AL) formed that subcommittee and has urged the governor to implement the plan, as have other officials such as Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato.

On Monday evening, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) announced that an advisory committee of health and business leaders from his district have recommended that Ivey immediately repeal the existing stay-at-home order.

“Alabama has two options. We can live under government dictate, where a burgeoning nanny state regulates, ‘for our own good, because we are not smart enough to know better’, the minutiae of our lives (even to the point of dictating when we can visit our children, grandchildren, parents and siblings, and how far apart we must be when we do so),” stated Brooks. “Or we can have a government that is a partner and advisor, that gives its best advice but defers to citizens the liberty and freedom of making their own decisions on how to best balance the conflict between COVID-19 safety and the income needed to support family life. I am proud that, in the Tennessee Valley, our Advisory Committee members chose to respect liberty, freedom, and the right of individual citizens to do what they believe is best to protect and promote their own lives.”

The full AL-05 committee report is available here.

Ivey has previously said that the state’s congressional delegation and the Alabama Small Business Commission Emergency Task Force’s Subcommittee to Reopen the Economy are two of the three sources she will use to formulate a plan for getting Alabamians back to work. The other source is an executive committee put together by Ivey and chaired by Butler. Ivey and Butler on Tuesday both advised that committee is still working on formulating recommendations to deliver to the governor and Harris. Ivey added that the members of the congressional delegation will all have delivered their respective recommendations by Wednesday.

Ivey also thanked Ainsworth’s Subcommittee to Reopen the Economy for its Reopening Alabama Responsibly Phase One, which she said contained “good” proposals. The governor remarked that she is “eager as anyone” to reopen the economy.

Alabama’s stay-at-home order expires at 5:00 p.m. CT on April 30.

A car rally is scheduled for Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. outside the State Capitol, urging Ivey to reopen the economy.

UPDATE 11:22 a.m.

Ivey said that testing is still an obstacle to reopening the state’s economy.

“We’re not testing enough yet… We need to do a whole lot more testing to get up to speed,” the governor advised.

Harris added that contact tracing is also key. He remarked that testing capacity in Alabama has improved “tremendously” and that “widespread” testing is not realistic for any state anytime soon.

UPDATE 11:28 a.m.

Ivey said that the state-at-home order is in place until “at least” April 30 “at this point.” The governor said her “opinion doesn’t count,” but rather that the opinions of health officials will determine when the state’s economy can reopen. She urged citizens not to get “impatient” and to continue doing their part, as what the state is currently doing with social distancing is working. Ivey and Harris stressed that data will determine the state’s timeline.

This is breaking news and will be updated.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

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