MONTGOMERY, Ala. — UPDATE: Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) on Friday issued an update to the statewide health order to aid in Alabama’s efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Effective today, all non-work related gatherings of 25 persons or more, or non-work related gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited. Employers shall take all reasonable steps to meet these standards for employees and customers. 

The updated order also expands the availability of child day care in the state as long as certain guidelines are followed, and includes clarifying language regarding senior citizen centers and schools.

Governor Kay Ivey: “As our state works in overdrive to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic, we are making decisions based on the best information we have in the moment. I have no doubt that as this situation rapidly unfolds, decisions will need to be evaluated and amended.

“Yesterday’s health order was issued to be as comprehensive as possible to combat the spread of the virus and to ensure the state was doing everything within its authority to protect the people of Alabama.

“In order to keep Alabama going, we must keep Alabama businesses going to the best of our abilities. I fully support the restrictions of social or recreational gatherings of 25 people or less and strongly encourage individuals to maintain a six-foot distance. However, this order was intended to apply to non-work-related gatherings. However, employers should take all necessary steps to meet these standards for employees and customers.

“Let me be abundantly clear - I have no intention of slowing down our workforce through unnecessary, burdensome regulations. We will only be able to mitigate the risk of the virus through the efforts of our hardworking manufacturers that will produce life-sustaining supplies, our truckers who move these goods down the road, and our valued retailers that will make them available to our citizens.

“My administration has been given clear instructions to do everything possible to ensure the continuity of government while being flexible and responsible to the needs of our state. I ask for the support of my fellow Alabamians as we work through these challenging days together.”

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris: "Alabamians must cooperate, understand their actions affect other people, and take seriously the need to protect health and safety, because COVID-19 is a deadly virus."

March 19:

Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) on Thursday issued a statewide health order to aid in Alabama’s efforts to contain the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Statewide through April 5:

  • All gatherings of 25 persons or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited. This Order shall apply to all gatherings, events or activities that bring 25 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time.
  • Any restaurant, bar, brewery or similar establishments shall not permit on-premise consumption of food or drink. Governor Ivey continues to encourage patrons to visit their local eateries for take-out or delivery provided the social distancing protocols include maintaining a consistent six-foot distance between persons are followed.
  • All beaches will be closed effective today at 5:00 p.m. For clarification, the term “beach” means the sandy shoreline area abutting the Gulf of Mexico, whether privately or publicly owned, including beach access points.
  • Preschools and childcare centers will be closed effective at close of school or business today. This shall not apply to licensed childcare centers that provide services exclusively to employees with: State and Local Governments, First Responders (including EMS and Fire Services), Law Enforcement, Hospitals, Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities), End Stage Renal Disease Treatment Centers, Pharmacies and grocery stores.
  • Effective immediately, all Hospitals and Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities) shall prohibit visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations such as maternity and end-of-life.
  • All elective dental and medical procedures shall be delayed, effective immediately.

RELATED: City of Huntsville responds to statewide COVID-19 order

RELATED: Local stores cater to seniors during COVID-19 shopping spike

Governor Kay Ivey: “Despite our best efforts, the threat of the Covid-19 virus continues to spread and, unfortunately, we have not yet reached peak impact. The decision to place regulations upon Alabamians living in Jefferson County and its surrounding counties was an effort to contain the area in which the virus has been prevalent in our state.

“As of this morning, 68 individuals have tested positive for the Coronavirus in Alabama. While I am pleased that many of our citizens are self-regulating and are practicing social distancing, we want to ensure that Alabama is doing our part to flatten the curve.

“Closing Alabama beaches is not a simple decision but one that I came to with the consultation of our elected officials along the coast and members of my administration. After many rounds of conversations with local leaders, in which we discussed several options, I have decided to close beach access in any form. Since we do not want to promote social gatherings, keeping the beaches open sends the wrong message to the public. At this moment, the safety and well-being of Alabamians is paramount.

“In addition, we rely heavily upon our first responders and critical healthcare workers to help those who are ill, as well as essential state government employees to keep the continuity of government, and many of them struggle with dependent childcare if day cares close. As a result, I have asked the Alabama Department of Human Resources and the Alabama Department of Public Health to explore emergency rule-making to make critical exemptions to allow for daycare to be provided for these areas of crucial personnel.

RELATED: Therapist: More kids seeking help amid COVID-19 outbreak

“My administration – and all the services of state government – are going to be as flexible as humanly possible to help make your government work for you during the coming days and weeks. I want to the thank the people of our great state for their continued patience and for taking great care of themselves and each other during this pandemic.”

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris: "We understand that the health orders issued will be a hardship on Alabamians. We must, first and foremost, protect the health and safety of our citizens. This decision has not been made lightly and will help to prevent the spread of this virus."

IN OTHER NEWS: