MONTGOMERY, Ala. — "We are not back to normal."
Governor Ivey stressed that we are not back normal, and that if the state wants to avoid another shut down, people must take responsibility for themselves.
The current "Safer-at-home" order, which was set to expire on July 3, will be extended through July 31. Ivey said this time is necessary to see if the order is working.
Big parts of that include social distancing, mask wearing, and practicing good hand hygiene. There are also rules in place to help businesses keep employees and customers safe.
She warned that the current rise in cases is not just from Memorial Day, and that if numbers continue to rise, the state may have to go backwards on "Safer at home."
She did not put a mask rule in place, saying that it would be almost impossible to enforce. She repeatedly stressed the need for people to cover their faces in public, even if it's just going into a store.
"When you're in public, for goodness sakes, wear a mask. Y'all, Dr. Harris and I can order you to wear a mask but it would be next to impossible to enforce. But you know you shouldn't have to order somebody to do what is just in your own best interest and that of the folks that you care about," says Ivey.
According to the state health officer, more testing is being done, but the percentage of the tests that are positive is rising, indicating higher rates of infection.
Alabama Department of Public Health will be releasing new maps to help explain where COVID-19 is, how high the levels of infection are in different counties, and how cases are increasing or decreasing over time. The goal is to make the information more understandable and accessible to the public.
Emphasis on family and protecting those around you
State Representative Dexter Grimsley explained how COVID-19 affected his family when his sister died from it early in the pandemic. He said that although there are things we don't know about the coronavirus, we do know that it is real, it is killing people, and we can reduce the spread by following guidelines of health care and public health officials, including face covering, social distancing, and good hygiene. He also emphasized that first responders need to be available to help the community, and that taking responsibility for yourself helps them.
If you want football back, you need to do your part
Greenville mayor Dexter McLendon explained how COVID-19 affected his family. His 90-year-old mother is in a nursing home, and he has not seen her since March. She had the virus and survived. He and his wife also had it. He emphasized how important family is, and that by using common sense and following recommendations, you can protect your family.
He also said that people come up to him and say they'll be happy when this is over. His response is that it's up to residents to help make that happen. He also spoke about the state's love of football, and that if you want football back, you need to follow recommendations like face covering and social distancing.
Do the right thing
"Do the right thing" was a common phrase the news conference. Governor Ivey, State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, Rep. Grimsley, and Mayor McLendon all stressed how important it is for residents to do the right thing by following health guidelines and the "Safer at home" order requirements. All are concerned about the upcoming July 4 holiday, and while they know people want to celebrate, they need to do it with social distancing and wearing masks.
Read the current "Safer at home" order, not extended through July 31.
About the current "Safer at home" order, now extended through July 31.