BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth has been vocal on Twitter the past few days saying its past time for the state to reopen.
“There’s now way I’m going to sit here and let our businesses crumble,” Ainsworth said.
About two and a half weeks ago, the Small Business Commission led by Ainsworth went over recommendations with Governor Ivey to safely reopen restaurants, retail stores, and close contact businesses like nail salons and barber shops. Ainsworth is calling on the governor and the state health officer to open them right away.
“I respect Dr. Harris and appreciate what he’s doing with public health but there’s got to be a balance with the economy or we’re not going to be able to fund just basic things in our state. We have to have jobs. People have to be able to provide for their families,” Ainsworth said.
Ainsworth says time is ticking away financially for businesses.
“The longer we wait, the more likely these businesses will never reopen,” Ainsworth said.
Ainsworth tells us if these businesses open now, the Alabama Department of Public Health will use contact tracing to hopefully prevent a spike in COVID-19 cases. Jefferson County already has dozens of contact tracers and is planning to hire as many as 75 more.
Some people believe Ainsworth is speaking out more for political reasons. We asked him is he setting himself up to run for a higher office?
“This has nothing to do with politics. This has to do with what I was elected to do and that’s to fight for the people and make sure their businesses get back open. We cannot have a policy in place that doesn’t no allow businesses to open. We will bankrupt our state,” Ainsworth said.
When it comes to coronavirus testing, Ainsworth says his office is vetting at least two companies to bring in a lot more COVID-19 testing to Alabama. He says ADPH is speaking with several companies as well.