ORDER OF THE STATE HEALTH OFFICER SUSPENDING CERTAIN PUBLIC GATHERINGS DUE TO RISK OF INFECTION BY COVID-19 (APPLICABLE STATEWIDE) AMENDED MARCH 27, 2020

WHEREAS, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been detected in Alabama; and

WHEREAS, the appearance of COVID-19 in the State poses the potential of widespread exposure to an infectious agent that poses significant risk of substantial harm to a large number of people; and

WHEREAS, the State Board of Health has designated COVID-19 to be a disease of epidemic potential, a threat to the health and welfare of the public, or otherwise of public health importance; and

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, on recommendation of the State Health Officer, Kay Ivey, Governor of the State of Alabama, declared a state public health emergency exists in the State of Alabama; and

WHEREAS, on March 16, 2020, the Jefferson County Health Officer, in response to a rapidly growing number of cases of COVID-19 being detected in Jefferson County, issued an order suspending certain public gatherings in that county; and

WHEREAS, on March 17, 2020, the State Health Officer issued a similar order for counties surrounding Jefferson, including Blount, St. Clair, Shelby, Tuscaloosa, and Walker Counties, and

WHEREAS, on March 19, 2020, the State Health Officer issued an order, and on March 20, 2020, an amended order, of statewide application suspending certain public gatherings; WHEREAS, further social distancing measures are necessary to be implemented on a statewide basis to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, Ala. Code § 22-2-2(4), authorizes the State Health Officer, on behalf of the State Board of Health, to direct that conditions prejudicial to health in public places within the State be abated; NOW THEREFORE, THESE PREMISES CONSIDERED, it is ordered that the following be implemented statewide:

1. Effective March 28, 2020 at 5:00 P.M., all non-work related gatherings of 10 persons or more, or non-work related gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited. Employers shall take all reasonable steps to meet these standards for employees and customers.

2. Effective March 28, 2020 at 5:00 P.M., the following “non-essential” businesses, venues, and activities shall be closed to non-employees or not take place:

Entertainment venues as follows:

(1)Night clubs

(2)Bowling alleys

(3)Arcades

(4)Concert venues

(5)Theaters, auditoriums, and performing arts centers

(6)Tourist attractions (including museums and planetariums)

(7)Racetracks

(8)Indoor children’s play areas

(9)Adult entertainment venues

(10)Casinos

(11)Bingo halls

(12)Venues operated by social clubs

Athletic facilities and activities as follows:

(1)Fitness centers and commercial gyms

(2)Spas and public or commercial swimming pools

(3)Yoga, barre, and spin facilities

(4)Spectator sports

(5)Sports that involve interaction with another person of closer than 6 feet

(6)Activities that require use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment

(7)Activities on commercial or public playground equipment

Close-contact service providers as follows:

(1)Barber shops

(2)Hair salons

(3)Waxing salons

(4)Threading salons

(5)Nail salons and spas

(6)Body-art facilities and tattoo services

(7)Tanning salons

(8)Massage-therapy establishments and massage services

Retail stores as follows:

(1)Furniture and home-furnishings stores

(2)Clothing, shoe, and clothing-accessory stores

(3)Jewelry, luggage, and leather goods stores

(4)Department stores

(5)Sporting goods stores

(6)Book, craft, and music stores

3. Effective March 19, 2020, at 5:00 P.M., all beaches shall be closed. For purposes of this section, the term “beach” means the sandy shoreline area abutting the Gulf of Mexico, whether privately or publicly owned, including beach access points.

4. Effective Friday, March 20, 2020, all regular programs at Senior Citizen Centers shall be ended except that Senior Citizen Centers and their partners are urged to assure that their clients continue to receive needed meals via curbside pick-up or delivery.

5. Effective today, the following shall be closed: a. In-person instruction or classes at all schools, public and private, including but not limited to: elementary, secondary, postsecondary, technical, or specialty schools, and colleges and universities.

(1) This order is not intended to prevent any employers from making continued necessary staffing decisions. Employers are authorized to advise employees to work from home or maintain flexible work schedules. If working from home is not feasible, the employee should practice social distancing (by maintaining consistent six-foot distance between persons) and follow public health guidelines.

(2) This order shall not apply to daytime special activities programs provided by local boards of education for children, ages 6 through 12 as of March 13, 2020, of First Responders (including EMS and Fire Services) and Licensed Healthcare Providers, and their essential employees, and essential employees of the following categories of employers: State and Local Governments, Law Enforcement, Hospitals, Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities), End Stage Renal Disease Treatment Centers, Pharmacies, and Grocery Stores. In these special activities programs, 12 or more children shall not be allowed in any one room at the same time, and operators of these programs are encouraged to use enhanced sanitation practices consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health. b. Facilities providing child day care, including any child day care facility described in Ala. Code § 38-7-2, at which 12 or more children are in a room or other enclosed or separated space at the same time.

Center employees are encouraged to use enhanced sanitation and social-distancing practices consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Alabama Department of Public Health.

This Order does not change the Minimum Standards for Day Care promulgated by the Alabama Department of Human Resources, except that 12 or more children shall not be allowed in a room or other enclosed or separated space at the same time.

Effective immediately, all Hospitals and Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities) shall prohibit visitation of all visitors, as defined by the facility, and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations such as maternity and end-of-life.

Effective March 28, 2020 at 5:00 P.M., all dental, medical, or surgical procedures shall be postponed until further notice, subject to the following exceptions: a. Dental, medical, or surgical procedures necessary to treat an emergency medical condition. For purposes of this order, “emergency medical condition” is defined as a medical condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain, psychiatric disturbances, and/or symptoms of substance abuse) such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected by a person’s licensed medical provider to result in placing the health of the person in serious jeopardy or causing serious impairment to bodily functions or serious dysfunction of bodily organs. b. Dental, medical, or surgical procedures necessary to avoid serious harm from an underlying condition or disease, or necessary as part of a patient’s ongoing and active treatment.

Effective March 19, 2020, at 5:00 P.M., all restaurants, bars, breweries, or similar establishments shall not permit on-premises consumption of food or drink.

Such establishments may continue to offer food for take-out or delivery provided the social distancing protocols, including maintaining a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are followed.
Such establishments are strongly encouraged to offer online ordering and curbside pick-up of food.
Hospital food service areas are excluded from this order provided they have their own social distancing plan.

If organizers or sponsors of otherwise suspended events desire, they may submit a request for an exemption from this order. While the State Health Officer is under no obligation to grant such an exemption, it shall be fairly considered based on the following criteria:

Effective measures have been taken to identify those attending the event who may potentially be affected with COVID-19, including but not limited to personal testing for the disease or submission of current medical clearances to the organizer.
Effective measures have been taken to prevent the spread of infection even by those that are infected while not symptomatic, including the provision of anti-infection measures such as proper face masks, personal sanitation measures, and other measures that may be considered proper. The State Health Officer’s discretion under this section includes the discretion to refer exemption requests from Jefferson and Mobile Counties to the respective County Health Officer for those counties for evaluation as described above.

This Order shall remain in full force and effect until 5:00 P.M. on April 17, 2020. Prior to 5:00 P.M. on April 17, 2020, a determination shall be made whether to extend this Order—or, if circumstances permit, to relax this Order.

This Order supersedes and preempts all orders previously issued by the State Health Officer and Jefferson and Mobile County Health Officers concerning COVID-19 mitigation measures. After the date this amended order is issued, the Jefferson and Mobile County Health Officers are authorized, after approval by the State Health Officer, to implement more stringent measures as local circumstances require.