MONTGOMERY — Governor Kay Ivey held a press conference on Tuesday morning in which she briefed the public on Alabama’s efforts to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the resulting economic impacts.
Ivey said she is soliciting information on the economy from three different sources: the lieutenant governor’s subcommittee, Alabama’s seven U.S. House members and an executive committee of six individuals selected from the state’s coronavirus task force.
The governor mentioned multiple times that the re-opening of Alabama’s economy will be an organized, deliberate process and warned that it is “not like flipping on a light-switch.” She outlined that different areas of the state will have unique timelines for getting back to work, based on respective situations and needs.
When asked about some businesses opening before the end of the current stay-at-home order on April 30, Ivey said it was “possible,” but did not commit to any specific date.
The governor mentioned near the beginning of her remarks that she is seeing positive indications from the state’s social distancing efforts. She believes that “it is imperative that we keep doing what we’re doing.”
Dr. Scott Harris, head of the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), joined Ivey at the press conference and said that the coronavirus numbers “look as good as we have seen them.”
Harris added, “We feel fairly confident that whatever surge we may see in the next week or so can be handled in the four walls of our hospitals.”
The governor’s new task force executive committee that will help evaluate proposals for re-opening the economy is comprised of the following six individuals:
Director of the Alabama Department of Finance Kelly Butler
Alabama Secretary of Commerce Greg Canfield
Alabama State Senate Pro Tem Del Marsh
Alabama Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama CEO Tim Vines
Retired University of Virginia Dean of Medicine Dr. Nancy Dunlap Johns
The group will be chaired by Butler and will field recommendations and suggestions from across Alabama about how to best open the economy back up.
The executive committee will be the main group in charge of creating a “thoughtful, well-planned timeline for us to open up the economy,” according to Ivey.
She added that the executive committee’s suggestions will be weighed against the advice of Dr. Harris and other medical experts.
Ivey will work with Harris to announce an updated State Health Order “on or before April 28.”
“As governor, I have the responsibility to look out for the health of our people as well as our economic health,” Ivey advised.
The governor noted that she expects a report from Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth’s subcommittee on reopening the economy this Friday.
The governor said that she and her staff reached out over the weekend to each of Alabama’s seven U.S. House members so that the challenge of re-opening the economy could be examined “on a district by district basis.” Ivey said she was very pleased with the congressional representatives’ cooperation up to this point.
“There are as many economic differences in our state as there are geographic and regional differences,” added the governor.
Ivey expects the report from the House delegation by April 22.
“We all want to get back to work,” said Ivey near the end of the press conference.
This story is breaking and will be updated.