MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Friday evening, the city of Montgomery took its own steps to slow the spread of COVID-19 by enacting a curfew.
Effective immediately, citizens of Montgomery must remain in their homes between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. every day of the week until further notice.
It’s an effort Mayor Steven Reed says right now is necessary.
“The rate that we’re going, the cases that we’re seeing may result in the loss of thousands of lives. We’re trying to prevent that,” Reed said.
After communicating with city leaders and law enforcement Reed concluded that the new curfew is needed to stop the continuation of large group gatherings.
“It is to discourage those entities from gathering in parking lots or other places where they may not know or intend to spread the COVID-19 virus but very well may be doing so,” he said.
Reed says the number of cases has risen at such an alarming rate that the city needed to take action to ensure that only necessary personnel are roaming the streets at night.
“We especially need only the roads open for our first responders,” said Reed. “We want to make sure that our medical personnel can get to work as well, and we don’t overload our healthcare system.”
The aim is to save lives and flatten the curve, which keeps local hospitals functional. As of Friday evening, Montgomery had 18 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and Alabama had 604.
The mayor said he recognizes it as an inconvenience, but added, “this is an effort to save lives. We want to look out for everyone.”
Failure to comply with the curfew is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and or 180 days in jail.
"Our officers will be out in the community and will be out in force. To make sure that this curfew is being respected and followed by members of this city," said Reed.
There are a few exceptions to the curfew. They include:
- Public safety or emergency service activities, including law enforcement, fire and rescue services, and emergency management agencies.
- First responders, crisis intervention workers, public health workers, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, law enforcement personnel, and related contractors.
- Employees or contractors of utilities, cable, and telecommunications companies engaged in necessary activities to maintain/restore services.
- Those providing services including fire, police, sanitation, security, emergency, hospital, and food service, or deliveries of merchandise or mail.
- Those seeking essential services or commodities, those vulnerable to most serious effects of COVID-19 are to remain home unless seeking medical treatment.
- Those restocking or supplying businesses in order to provide essential services or products.
- Federal, state, county or city employees working within the course of their job.
- Those who are homeless within the city limits of Montgomery
People may leave their homes during this curfew only if engaging in essential activities. Essential activities include: visiting health or veterinary care, obtaining medical supplies or medication, obtaining grocery items for their household or to deliver to others, or for legally mandated government purposes.
Earlier in the day Friday, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced a new round of ordered closures for many “non-essential” businesses targeting four broad categories including entertainment venues, athletic facilities and activities, “close contact” service establishments, and non-essential retail stores.
Earlier in the week, Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley expressed to the mayor the significant challenges to breaking up public gatherings. Those caught breaking the curfew could face criminal prosecution.
The mayor said violations are punishable by up to 180 days in jail and fines of $500.
Earlier in the day, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced a new round of ordered closures for many “non-essential” businesses targeting four broad categories including entertainment venues, athletic facilities and activities, “close contact” service establishments, and non-essential retail stores.