Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Alabama, US, to lift some business restrictions starting April 30, urging residents to stay home through May 15.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Mobile, Alabama
  • Huntsville, Alabama
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Florence-Muscle Shoals, Alabama
  • Dothan, Alabama
  • Gadsden, Alabama
  • Auburn, Alabama

This alert began 29 Apr 2020 14:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Alabama (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Movement restrictions, significant business disruptions

Summary
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued an executive order to lift restrictions on some businesses starting April 30, while urging all residents to remain at home as much as possible through at least May 15, as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Between April 30-May 15, authorities have urged residents to minimize activities outside their homes and wear face coverings when they are near other people and have maintained a ban on gatherings of ten people or more.

Starting 1700 April 30, retail stores may reopen, but they must limit capacity to a maximum of 50 percent, avoid gatherings, ensure the proper distance between employers and customers, and enhance sanitation. Beaches will reopen for visitors, and nonurgent medical and dental procedures may resume unless they affect the equipment and resources of a healthcare facility. Entertainment venues, athletic facilities, personal care, and close-contact businesses, must remain closed through at least May 15. In-person lessons at public and private schools also remain canceled. Restaurants and bars may only operate for deliveries and pickups. Essential businesses and services, such as grocery shops, pharmacies, banks, and transport, security, media, and critical manufacturing companies, may continue operating. Other nonessential businesses can operate only with employees working from home.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders at short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures are likely to accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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