End dates set for Alabama COVID-19 public health order, state of emergency

End dates set for Alabama COVID-19 public health order, state of emergency

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Gov. Kay Ivey will allow Alabama’s COVID-19 public health order to end on May 31 while the state of emergency designation will continue on until July 6 before expiring.

“For over a year now, Alabamians, like people around the globe, have made sacrifices and adjusted to a temporary ‘new normal.’ We have learned much since last year, and this is absolutely now a managed pandemic,” Ivey said in a statement. “Our infection rates and hospitalizations are in better shape, and over 1.5 million Alabamians have had at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine.”

The state’s current “safer apart” order consists primarily of recommendations aligned with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. However, specific guidance applies to two groups. Senior citizen centers must continue to follow guidelines issued by the Alabama Department of Senior Services. Hospitals and nursing homes must follow current guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with respect to visitation.

“Barring a great spike in COVID-19 cases, these last remaining requirements should be lifted with the expiration of this order on May 31,” the governor’s office said.

“As we approach the fourteenth month of this pandemic, we are pleased that two-thirds of Alabama residents age 65 and older have been vaccinated,” said State Health Officer Scott Harris. “While some barriers such as transportation remain, more than 1,300 providers in the state are administering safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in communities throughout the state.”

All Alabamians ages 16 and older have been eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination since April 5, and the governor continues to encourage residents to get vaccinated.

“Similar to when we ended the mask requirement, this final extension gives all Alabama health care providers, businesses and individuals adequate time to make preparations,” Ivey stated.

”I am pleased that we have shown the rest of the country that we are gritty and determined,” the governor added. “We are signaling loud and clear that Alabama is open, and we are moving forward.”

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