State Watch

Alabama loosens more coronavirus restrictions as cases climb

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) announced Thursday that the state would reopen theaters, child care facilities and summer camps, even as she conceded case counts in the state are “not as good as would hope.”

“Our numbers are not as good as we would hope,” Ivey said Thursday. “But we cannot sustain a delayed way of life as we search for a vaccine. It’s not realistic to believe we’re going to keep everyone totally isolated from each other.”

Alabama’s Department of Health data indicate 7-day and 14-day averages of cases in the state continue to rise, with a total caseload of 13,058 as of Thursday afternoon and 528 deaths. The state’s so-called Black Belt has been hit particularly hard, with its 18 predominantly African American counties averaging 239 cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks, compared to 82 per 100,000 people statewide, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

“Today is the next step in what has seemed like a long and difficult process of reopening our economy, while we remain true to the fact that this is a deadly, serious disease,” Ivey added Thursday.

State Health Officer Scott Harris said residents should continue to wear masks, limit travel and practice social distancing wherever possible.

Effective Friday at 5 p.m., the state will also allow other entertainment venues such as arcades and bowling alleys to reopen, while athletic activities will be allowed to resume Saturday, with competitions allowed beginning June 15. Education institutions, including trade and professional schools, will be allowed to reopen June 1. Reopened child care facilities will have no limitations on capacity.

Retailers will remain restricted to 50 percent occupancy, while activities at senior citizens’ homes will be suspended and people will be required to maintain six feet of distance between one another at non-work gatherings. Restaurants and bars in the state are open but at limited capacity.

Tags Coronavirus

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