The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to spread across the nation, impacting individuals and families from coast to coast. As the American people have been under various stay-at-home and public health orders for the last few months, several states are beginning to move into the next phases of modified guidelines. Governor Kay Ivey last week announced Alabama’s amended Safer at Home guidelines which went into effect on May 11 at 5:00 p.m. While Alabamians begin to gradually return to the workplace, visit retail stores, and dine in at local restaurants, it is critical to continue to abide by the advice given by government leaders and public health officials.
The most recent Safer at Home guidelines issued include key changes to note:
- Non-work gatherings remove 10 person limit but must keep six feet distance between those not from the same household.
- Restaurants, bars, and breweries may open with limited seating, six feet between tables, and subject to additional sanitation rules.
- Athletic facilities may open subject to social distancing guidelines and additional sanitation rules.
- Close-contact service providers may open subject to social distancing guidelines and additional sanitation rules.
- Beaches are open with no limit on gatherings but must maintain six feet of separation.
These changes now allow for many to leave their homes and visit various local establishments for the first time in several weeks. I urge Alabamians to follow all guidelines implemented by Governor Ivey, Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Plus, people across the state are still encouraged to only leave their homes when necessary. Remember to continue practicing social distancing when you must leave, as well as proper hygiene practices. The continuation of these important protocols will protect you and others around you, especially the most vulnerable.
The American people have sacrificed and adapted to several unfamiliar lifestyle changes in order to contribute to the mitigation practices helping to slow the spread of coronavirus. While these practices have certainly contributed to flattening the curve of coronavirus, this vicious virus is still very much present in our country. As of right now, it has taken the lives of over 85,000 American men and women. As time passes, Alabama will continue to move into the next phases of amended guidelines. Although there is no way to predict when these changes will occur, please remember full participation with all safety precautions is necessary to make our communities healthy and well again. The state of Alabama is full of resilient people, and this virus will not knock us down.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.