State Sen. Arthur Orr: ‘I think there’s some steps we can take that would start releasing the grip of the government over our state’
Despite recommendations from a task force led by Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth and State Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville) seeking the immediate rollback of economic restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, state officials at the executive level are not giving any indication that they are willing to budge on the end of the month as the time for reopening the state.
However, some members of the Alabama legislature are beginning to question the timeline and suggesting partial openings, at least in some areas of the state.
Among those is State Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), who has previously been an outspoken critic of those measures. On Friday’s broadcast of Alabama Public Television’s “Capitol Journal,” while acknowledging the need to proceed with caution, Orr urged a wind-down of the restrictions, including on commerce and on the health care sector, as well.
“It is a great concern, and I can’t speak for — for Governor Ivey and everyone in elected office, and certainly the business world, and employees — it’s a concern for everyone,” Orr said. “And we need to move forward very cautiously, very carefully. But I would like to see if it’s not possible that we make some changes before the end of the month. I know the State Health Officer’s order goes through the end of April. But can we not start stepping it down in certain areas — whether we do it regionally, or whether we look at certain mom-and-pop-type stores with restrictions on capacity and how many customers would be allowed in, all with social distancing in place.”
“Also, look at the medical community,” he continued. “I find it highly ironic that we took the steps that we did to help preserve or save the medical community from an onslaught, but now they’re laying people off because quite frankly they don’t have enough business to justify people being there in the hospital. So, can we not open up the medical world for elective procedures? I had a constituent contact me, who had an appointment for removing kidney stones. He said, ‘I’m in terrible pain, but I can’t get into the hospital to get my kidney stone removed. So there’s some serious matters out there that we need to address and need to occur.”
“And then, it is 15 or so more days until the end of the month,” Orr added. “It seems to me we can start this process of ratcheting down the orders that are in place — and the reason is the projections haven’t come to fruition. The projections were being made in March, and early April haven’t come to pass, and that’s certainly a good thing. Our growth in Alabama has slowed here seriously. Can we not start moving things back to normal? We won’t get to normal. I’m not suggesting that we have large group gatherings and things like that. But I’ve also had constituents calling and crying b because they couldn’t attend a small funeral because you could separate the crowd, or have it family-only. They couldn’t attend because they weren’t an aunt or an uncle or an immediate family member. So, anyway — it’s affecting a lot of people across the state. We need to be careful, but I think there’s some steps we can take that would start releasing the grip of the government over our state.”
@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 Huntsville’s “The Jeff Poor Show” from 2-5 p.m. on WVNN.