MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - As coronavirus cases continue to rise, state leaders are reacting to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s decision to extended the safer at home order.
The order, which Ivey extended until July 31, keeps some restrictions on retailers and businesses. For instance, retailers are required to limit their capacity to 50 percent and have customers seated six feet apart.
Mindy Hanan with the Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association said her members are fine with the order being extended.
“I think that even if the order had not been extended, most restaurants and hotels would have continued to follow the guidance that we’ve been given,” Hanan said. “I think that they’re comfortable with that guidance and they feel like it’s probably the best way to protect both their customers and their employees.”
Hanan said they did request the governor change the order to allow seating closer than six feet in certain circumstances.
“If we could have a physical barrier between customers that would allow some of the smaller restaurants to be able to seat more people,” Hanan added.
Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said he generally agrees with the governor’s decision to extend the health order.
“I would like to see areas of the state where there have been low rates of infection go ahead and be opened even more,” Orr said. “I believe a targeted or regional approach would mitigate the economic damage being done as we fight the virus.”
Several democrats, including Sen. Vivian Figures, D-Mobile, wanted to see a mandatory face covering order.
“We should at the very least do that,” Figures said. “Because if you continue to do the same thing, and you continue to get the same results, then what are you really doing?”
Figures said if a mandatory face covering was ordered, law enforcement should enforce it.
“And it’s not about you know, picking people up throwing them in jail,” Figures said. “Reminding them that you need to put your mask on or whatever, that doesn’t take a whole lot, especially when you’re talking about saving somebody’s life.”
Ivey addressed mandatory face coverings in the press conference Tuesday saying a statewide order would not be enforceable.
Dr. Don WIlliamson with the Alabama Hospital Association said people are more likely to listen to a local government mandating face masks than a state mandating it.
“It’s better to have orders that people will take serious and orders that have the effect of changing the social expectations,” Williamson said.
The safer at home order expires July 31st at 5 p.m.