State Rep. Kiel: Bill would establish if one business can legally open during ’emergency,’ then all businesses and churches can remain open
State Rep. Jamie Kiel (R-Russellville) is seeking to take action to learn from what some would say is a mistake from the early stages of the state government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the outset, Gov. Kay Ivey, at the behest of State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, mandated certain so-called nonessential businesses closed to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Whether or not that was an effective action is unknown, according to Kiel, because the virus persists.
However, what may have been an unintended consequence was concentrating individuals in one central location at a business deemed “essential” because other “nonessential” businesses were closed. Kiel’s prefiled HB103 would make it so that if one business could remain open, then other businesses and churches could remain open under the same guidelines.
“Everybody knows that back in the spring when COVID hit — obviously no one had been through anything like that before in our lifetime,” the Franklin County lawmaker said on Monday’s broadcast of “The Jeff Poor Show” on Mobile radio’s FM Talk 106.5. “And there were some pretty drastic measures taken to avoid COVID. They could have slowed it. We don’t really know. But it is still spreading. There’s still COVID. People are still experiencing the repercussions from the pandemic. But the businesses and churches were closed — but not all businesses were closed, just those that were deemed nonessential. As you know, I’m a small business owner, and any small business owner’s business is essential if it is the person that owns it essential to them and their livelihood.”
“What I saw when I was traveling and even here in my small hometown was that there would be a business that was closed that sold clothing, for instance — and another business that was still open, that still sold clothing,” Kiel continued. “And a small mom-and-pop boutique or even a larger company like Hibbett that sells clothing — they had to close. They were forced to close. But another business like Walmart was open. I didn’t think that was right, first of all. But what we were really doing is were we driving all the customers that would have been in all these other stores — in the small mom-and-pops, the Hibbetts of the world — we were driving all those to one central location to buy clothing. That cannot be good for the spread of the pandemic — to bring everybody together in one location or a few locations.”
“What this bill simply does is it says if one business can be open under certain guidelines during emergencies or a pandemic, then all businesses and churches can be open under those same guidelines,” he added.
@Jeff_Poor is a graduate of Auburn University and the University of South Alabama, the editor of Breitbart TV, a columnist for Mobile’s Lagniappe Weekly, and host of Mobile’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. on FM Talk 106.5.