By Leada Gore | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Alabama Department of Health has ordered all Alabama restaurants and bars to go to take-out only, part of a sweeping set of regulations designed to curb the growth of coronavirus.
A similar order was already in place for Jefferson, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Blount, St. Clair, Shelby and Mobile counties. The new order covers the entire state.
State Health Officer Scott Harris said the efforts are part of a “containment strategy” to prevent overwhelming the healthcare system and stem the growth of the virus.
“Every single thing we’re doing today is not really going to affect the number we see in the next two weeks, we’re going to see the numbers increase,” Harris said. “What we hope is that the action we’re taking today is going to flatten the curve.”
“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. This decision has not been made lightly and will help to prevent the spread of this virus.”
The orders are in place through midnight April 5, though Harris said it will probably be extended.
“I think it is certainly possible that it could be extended…I think, in fact, it is likely,” he said.
All gatherings of 25 or more of those that cannot maintain a 6-foot distance between people are prohibited.
All Alabama beaches are closed. You can see more on that here.
All senior citizen gatherings, senior citizen centers across the state are closed.
All preschools, childcare centers are closed statewide. This ban doesn’t apply to childcare centers serving families of government, first responders or healthcare workers.
Visitors and non-essential personnel are banned at hospitals and nursing homes. There are exceptions for end-of-life and maternity situations.
All elective medical and dental procedures are delayed. Medical offices remain open and are serving patients.
All restaurant, bars, breweries are limited to delivery or pick-up. Hospital food service is exempted from this order.
Bars and breweries that do not serve food must close.
All schools and universities are ordered to close.