A Message from Mayor Robert Craft and the City Council
RE: Recommendations on Reopening Local Businesses and Beaches
We remain in close communication with our partners at the federal, state and local levels regarding our response to COVID-19. We are seeing encouraging signs that the social distancing actions we have collectively taken as citizens are working and that we are indeed flattening the curve, particularly in Alabama. This means that transmission rates are slowing and our healthcare system’s capacity is being preserved. It does not mean the risk of contracting the virus is gone and the reality is we will likely live with some risk related to COVID-19 for the forseeable future as we do with other infectious diseases.
Discussions are well under way nationwide about how to safely restart our country’s economy. We have begun similar conversations with Governor Kay Ivey’s office and the Alabama Small Business Commission Emergency Task Force Subcommittee, which was appointed by Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth and includes Senator Chris Elliott, on how our state can begin to return to some sense of normalcy while remaining diligent. We were asked to provide our recommendations and did so yesterday following a lenghty discussion with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris about specific issues related to safely opening our beaches and our local tourism economy.
Our belief is that we must collectively develop a gradual and measured approach that can evolve as this situation continues to do so. This likely includes requiring our businesses to reopen under modified conditions and that we all adapt to a “new normal” for a while. Many of our local businesses, their employees and their families are barely hanging on. Their future is uncertain, federal business assistance programs are now out of money, and their only chance of survival is for us to find a way to begin safely moving forward together.
Below are the specific recommendations we have provided subject to continued improvements related to COVID-19.
Small Businesses and Food and Beverage Establishments
May 1: All small businesses previously closed may reopen and food and beverage establishments may offer on-premise consumption subject to social distancing guidelines as set by the State Health Officer.
Medical and Dental Offices
May 1: All medical and dental offices may reopen and elective procedures may resume subject to social distancing guidelines set by the State Health Officer.
May 1: All beaches reopen for limited recreational use only. Walking, running, swimming, surfing, fishing or other similar activity is permitted as long as social distancing guidelines are followed. Congregating on the beach and the use of chairs, tents and/or umbrellas is prohibited.
May 15: All beaches reopen for normal activities subject to compliance with social distancing guidelines as set by the State Health Officer.