MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama beaches will soon reopen to visitors, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Tuesday.
Tuesday, Ivey announced the state’s economy would reopen in phases. Beaches fall in the state’s initial “Safer at Home” order that kicks in Thursday at 5 p.m. and extends through May 15.
“The beaches are the anchors of the tourism in Alabama, because last year people spent $5 billion in Baldwin County and that draws people throughout the country down to Alabama,” said Alabama Tourism Department Director Lee Sentell.
While beaches will reopen, they will do so with a ban on any gatherings of 10 people or more. Also, beach-goers must maintain six feet of separation.
Sentell said luckily the beaches have been closed during the “slowest time of year," and this is a good time for them to reopen.
“The fact that the beaches are going to be open for Memorial Day weekend and the month of May, that’s going to bring an awful lot of people back into the state, and as the the governor opens more tourist attractions and restaurants, then we will see a greater impact throughout the state," said Sentell.
Sentell says other cities around the state with tourist attractions will benefit from the reopening as well, not just the cities along the Gulf Coast.
“When the beaches are open there are more people from the Midwest that are going to stop at the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, or the zoo in Birmingham, or the Hank Williams Museum in Montgomery,” said Sentell.
The order also includes the reopening of all retail stores subject to a 50 percent occupancy rate limit in addition to social-distancing and sanitation rules.