Ivey closes all beaches, orders all restaurants to be take-out only

Published 2:09 pm Thursday, March 19, 2020

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Gov. Kay Ivey issued a statewide health order Thursday that included changes for restaurants and the closure of beaches.

The order prohibits all on-premise consumption of food or drink at restaurants, bars, breweries and similar establishments. It also closed all beaches at 5 p.m. and preschools and childhood centers.

The order also prohibited visitation at nursing homes, except for certain compassionate care situations such as maternity and end-of-life.

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All elective dental and medical procedures should also be delayed, effective immediately, as well.

“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,” Ivey said. “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 wellbeing of Alabamians is paramount.”

The order lasts until April 5 and requires the following:

— All preschools and child care centers to close beginning Thursday. Alabama had already closed public schools until April 6.

— All beaches in the state, whether private or public, to close at 5 p.m. Thursday.

— All restaurants to end on-site dining, although takeout and delivery may continue.

— All gatherings of 25 people or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent 6-foot distance between people, are prohibited.

— All nursing homes and hospitals will restrict visitation.

— All elective dental and medical procedures shall be delayed, effective immediately.

“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,” said State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris. “This decision has not been made lightly and will help to prevent the spread of this virus.”