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Alabama's new Safer-at-Home order: What you need to know

On April 30 at 5:00 p.m., Alabama moves from "stay at home" to "safer at home". What does this mean for you?
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. — On April 28, Governor Kay Ivey announced that Alabama would move from a "Stay at Home" order to a "Safer at Home" order on April 30 at 5:00 p.m.

What does this mean? What's changed?

For starters, social distancing rules are still in place, but retail businesses will be allowed to reopen - with some restrictions. So while it's not an "all-open", it is a move to get the state's economy back on its feet.

The basics:

The biggest changes are to retail businesses, beaches, and medical procedures, which can reopen and restart. Restaurants, entertainment venues, and close-contact services remain closed. Minimizing travel outside the home, especially if sick, and wearing face coverings around people from other households when it is necessary to leave the home are strongly encouraged.

Encouraged to stay home and follow good sanitation practices
Businesses may open subject to sanitation and social-distancing guidelines; certain higher-risk businesses and activities remain closed
All retail stores open subject to 50% occupancy rate, social-distancing and sanitation rules
Open except no gatherings of 10 persons or more and people must maintain 6 feet of separation
Allowed unless prohibited in the future by the State Health Officer to preserve resources necessary to diagnose and treat COVID-19; providers must follow COVID-19-related rules and guidance from state regulatory boards or public health authorities

Not everything is changing under the new Safer-at-Home order.

What's staying the same?

Still limited to fewer than 10 persons with 6 feet of distance between persons. “Drive-in” gatherings still permitted if participants stay in cars with people from their own households.
Regular programming still suspended except meals still available through curbside pick-up or delivery
Still closed to in-person instruction (except for daytime special activities programs)
Still must not allow 12 or more children in a room
Still must implement policies to restrict visitation
Still limited to take-out, curbside or delivery
Entertainment venues (such as night clubs, theaters, bowling alleys)
Athletic facilities and activities (such as fitness centers and commercial gyms)
Close-contact service providers (such as barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo services

What if I want to leave the house?

Individuals are strongly encouraged to practice personal responsibility, including minimizing travel outside the home, especially if sick, wearing face coverings around people from other households when it is necessary to leave the home, washing hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces, not touching one’s face, sneezing or coughing into a tissue, or the inside of one’s elbow, and disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.  

According to the new order, businesses open to the public are required to "take reasonable steps, where practicable, to protect their customers, constituents, or other guests" by:
- avoiding gatherings of 10 or more such persons
- maintaining six feet of separation between such persons (except for those persons who share the same household)
- regularly disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces. 

Additional rules for retailers include:
- no more than 50 percent of the normal occupancy load as determined by the fire marshal.
- social distancing - an employee of the retail store may not knowingly allow customers or patrons to congregate within six feet of one another.
- sanitation- the retail store shall take reasonable steps to comply with guidelines on sanitation from the CDC and the Alabama Department of Public Health.  

Employers are still required to "take reasonable steps, where practicable as work duties permit, to protect their employees" by:
- avoiding gatherings of 10 employees or more
- maintaining six feet of separation between employees
- regularly disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces
- encouraging handwashing
- preventing employees who are sick from coming into contact with other persons
- facilitating remote working arrangements
minimizing employee travel.

Read the complete order here:

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