MONTGOMERY, Ala. – All Alabama retail stores will be able to open Thursday evening under Gov. Kay Ivey’s new relaxed order that loosens some of the restrictions enacted to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state.
Ivey’s initial order, issued April 4, expires Thursday. She announced a new “safer at home” order Tuesday morning in a news conference.
But even though retailers will be able to open, the new order requires them to operate at 50 percent of their occupancy, as well as following social distancing and sanitation guidelines.
Many other businesses deemed high-risk, such as movie theaters, nightclubs, gyms and barber shops, are to remain closed during the duration of the order, which is set to expire May 15.
Ivey said the state’s cases have leveled off and the fear of hospitals being overrun with sick patients had passed.
“What our citizens have done is working,” she said. “And I appreciate that so many people have been willing to do the right things to keep themselves healthy, as well as to protect others to be well and healthy too.”
The new order also opens the state’s beaches for groups of 10 people or less and provided they can maintain 6 feet of distance. You can read a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Beaches provided by the governor’s office here.
It also allows hospitals to resume elective procedures.
Ivey said she looked forward to getting back cautiously into old routines but also cautioned residents must continue to be vigilant.
“The greatest disservice for the people who might be watching me here today is to think that by lifting the comprehensive health restrictions that this must be a sign that there’s no longer a threat of COVID-19,” Ivey said.