Alabama’s relaxed pandemic restrictions go into effect

Alabama’s relaxed pandemic restrictions go into effect
Alabama businesses are being allowed to reopen under relaxed restrictions from Gov. Kay Ivey's safer-at-home order. This salon has dividers between customers to help prevent COVID-19's spread. (Source: WSFA 12 News)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The next step in a phased reopening of Alabama’s economy has gone into effect. Gov. Kay Ivey announced Friday that she would loosen restrictions on her safer-at-home order with a new order that allows for gatherings and the reopening of more businesses.

The governor’s order, which will remain in effect until May 22, allows for multiples changes, but also keeps some restrictions in place.

The 10-person limit on non-work gatherings has been lifted, meaning people can begin to attended church services again, though with a requirement to maintain six feet of distance between those not from the same household.

Restaurants, bars and breweries are allowed to reopen a limited number of table seatings with six feet of distance between tables.

Athletic facilities like gyms and fitness centers can reopen, while adhering to social distancing and sanitation rules. Some specified athletic activities are still not allowed.

Close-contact service providers like barber shops, hair salons, nail salons and tattoo services are allowed to reopen with the same distancing and sanitation rules.

Beaches can reopen with no gathering limits, though beach-goers must keep six feet of separation.

Ivey will leave portions of her safer-at-home order in place. That means retail stores are still limited to an occupancy rate of 50 percent, and entertainment venues, night clubs, theaters and bowling alleys will remain closed.

Despite relaxing the restrictions, Alabama’s COVID-19 cases continue to rise, though at a rate the state believes is manageable. Ivey urged residents to be cautious, stating “the threat of this disease continues to be active and it is deadly."

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As of Monday, Alabama had reported 9,900 confirmed cases of the respirator illness and 393 deaths.

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