Gov. Ivey urges Alabamians to continue following stay at home order
As Alabama reaches the week when the number of COVID-19 cases are expected to peak, Gov. Kay Ivey is urging residents to continue to follow her statewide stay at home order.
“What the people of Alabama are doing is working, and we need to keep at it,” the governor said in a news conference called Tuesday morning with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and members of the governor’s cabinet.
Ivey says her order, which requires all nonessential businesses to close, will be reviewed before April 28 but will remain in effect through the expiration date of May 1. However, Ivey said plans are underway for how the state will move forward with reopening the economy.
The governor said her Coronavirus Task Force “has been hard at work reviewing recommendations to safely reopen Alabama,” and explained, “I’m as eager as anyone to get our economy spinning on all cylinders again.”
Some people are getting restless about the state remaining closed and a car rally for those supporting a restart to the economy is expected near the state capitol Tuesday afternoon.
Other states including Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia and Colorado have announced plans to gradually reopen in the coming days.
But Ivey warned she isn’t going to simply reopen the state’s economy by looking at a date. She said that will come by looking at data explaining, “we must make sure we’re doing it in a smart and productive way."
Ivey and Harris say the state needs to be testing more people and the number of COVID-19 cases need to begin declining before she can start the reopening process. The two did not have any answer when asked what the benchmarks are.
Harris did say it appears the hospital surge has been contained and that were was a lot of confidence going forward, but said “I would ask people to please remember that we’re trying to protect the most vulnerable people in our state,” and stressed “we still have a little further to go.”
Ivey said she plans to hear from the state’s Congressional delegation Wednesday and wants them to push Congress to replenish funding in the Paycheck Protection Program, which she called “absolutely critical” to small businesses.
Before the funds ran out, more than 28,000 of the state’s small businesses had applied and received emergency funds.
Alabama Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth is calling on the governor to reopen some businesses immediately and others in phases in May. The recommendations were made in a report released Friday.
“We’ve also had numerous suggestions from legislators, mayors and private citizens,” Ivey said, stating “every good idea deserves to be considered.”
According to the latest numbers from ADPH, there are more than 5,200 confirmed cases of the respiratory virus in Alabama. Over 48,300 people have been tested across the state and 180 deaths have been reported but not all have been confirmed to have been related to the virus.
“It’s been a challenging month,” Ivey said. "We’ve said goodbye to too many of our loved ones, & our way of life has been turned upside down. But she added, “better days are ahead; I’m confident of that.”