Gov. Ivey says state needs to strike ‘balance’ between economy and public health

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and Gov. Kay Ivey answered questions about coronavirus by...
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and Gov. Kay Ivey answered questions about coronavirus by phone Tuesday afternoon.(Source: Gov. Ivey's twitter account)
Updated: Mar. 24, 2020 at 5:55 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris spoke to media by phone Tuesday afternoon about the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

Ivey said her priority is keeping the Alabama economy going while taking extraordinary measures in keeping everyone healthy and safe.

“I know that businesses in your community are really feeling the pinch, and maybe feel hopeless when it’s hard to see an end in sight, but I want to echo the president who today said, ‘We have to get back to work,’” she said. “We must do everything we can to keep businesses open, and if they’re closed, get them back up as soon as possible.”

Ivey reiterated that small businesses across Alabama negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic are eligible for assistance under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. To see if your business qualifies, visit this link.

When asked if the state should be focused more on stopping the spread of the disease or the economy, Ivey said the state should be focused on both.

“The safety and well-being of Alabamians is paramount,” she said. “However, I agree with President Trump who thinks that a healthy and vital economy is just as essential to our quality of life. Manufacturers and businesses that are producing the medicines, the protective health equipment, and the food we need. It’s a balance, and we’re trying to strike the appropriate balance as we move forward.”

Harris said the state is preparing for many different scenarios in relation to the virus, including a surge in hospital patients. A group has been meeting to discuss solutions, but a concrete plan is not yet in place.

“I certainly am not sure if we're doing enough or if we're doing too much when it comes to this response, because it's just very difficult to look into the future and know what we're going to be seeing in a few weeks,” Harris said. “We're certainly trying to make the best decision we can with the data we have available. And it's possible we'll end up looking like we didn't do enough or it's possible we'll end up looking like we overreacted. And at this point, we're doing the best we can with the information we have.”

Ivey said again that the state has no plans to issue a shelter in place order. She was asked if the state is planning an economic recovery package for businesses and citizens.

“The answer to this question is dependent on the economy and the economic forecast, but there again it’s about keeping Alabama businesses open and running and if we enact a shelter in place, it will further impact our economy,” Ivey said.

You can listen to the full interview here.

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