Gov. Ivey Declares ‘This health crisis is not behind us’
Alabama's economy has reopened, if only at a half scale for how many can shop in a store, sit down to eat in a restaurant and get a haircut or style. This is the second full weekend of open business doors and Gov. Ivey is pronouncing her scaled back 'Safer at Home' order to be a success to this point. “Well, so far so good, we’ve done fairly well we got people going back to work and we are making strides to open up some more businesses,” she told a CBS42 interviewer.
Could it be too many too quickly? There have been businesses, especially bars, willing to take a chance and pack in more customers than allowed in an attempt to make-up for a month of lost profits. 22 of those were right here in Tuscaloosa. They were caught, not by authorities, but by their competitors who were abiding by the health precautions of social distancing and half-allowable occupancy. They were educated by the Tuscaloosa Fire/rescue Service and cautioned a repeat offense would bring up to a $500.00 fine. There were similar incidents, if not as widespread, in other communities across the state.
Businesses lost millions in revenue during the state's 'Stay at Home' shutdown order. Some locally and across the state were not able to survive, others are on the brink of being forced to close their doors. There is a feeling of panic among a number of business owners, so it is understandable some might push the limits. Understandable but dangerous according to state health officials who caution about two real possibilities: One, business owners who violate health orders are placing themselves at a great liability risk. The other even more serious threat is a second, more severe, wave of COVID-19 which could kill and sicken additional Alabamians and force a longer even more devastating statewide business and societal shutdown.
“Let me be abundantly clear: the threat of COVID-19 remains," Ivey told reporters when she amended her initial health order. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris in a phone interview stressed the need for people to continue to follow all the safety precautions recommended, “It takes two or three weeks to know the effects of loosening public gathering restrictions. So obviously we are still in the wait and see phase of the reopening".
Alabama has flattened the curve and the rate of new infections is falling but Harris points out, "...we can't afford a second round of the virus". Not so jokingly an unnamed ADPH employee quipped if people won't take this virus seriously then maybe a season without football might wake everyone up to the seriousness of this pandemic. That is an incomprehensible but realistic possibility in a time of bizarre and scary events.