Coronavirus Update Press Conference - May 21

Gov. Kay Ivey held a press conference to update the COVID-19 situation in Alabama Thursday May 21, 2020 in Montgomery.

Arcades, theaters and other entertainment venues will be allowed to reopen their doors starting Friday, May 22, at 5 p.m.

Though the “numbers haven’t been as good as we wanted to be,” Gov. Kay Ivey said during a press conference Thursday afternoon that it was time to begin the next phase of reopening the state.

Ivey, joined by State Health Officer Scott Harris, issued a second amendment to the state’s safer-at-home order, which allows certain athletic activities to resume, entertainment venues and schools to reopen, summer camps to be held and some restrictions on child care facilities to be lifted.

Permitted team activities set to resume are limited to practices that involve conditioning, skill drills and similar activities through June 14. According to the updated order, “athletic activities” means “sports that involve interaction with another person of closer than six feet” and “activities that require use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment.”

In order to participate in such activities, the following guidelines must be practiced:

“Players, coaches, officials and spectators shall not congregate within six feet of a person from another household except to the extent necessary—and only to the extent necessary—for players, coaches, and officials to directly participate in the athletic activity.” They must also “refrain from high fives, handshakes, and other physical contact except to the extent necessary—and only to the extent necessary—for players, coaches and officials to directly participate in the athletic activity.

“Players, coaches and officials shall wear a mask or other facial covering that covers his or her nostrils and mouth at all times except when a player or official is directly participating in the athletic activity.

“Players, coaches and officials shall not share water coolers, drinking stations, water bottles, cups or other drinking devices. Organizers of athletic activities shall take reasonable steps, where practicable, to regularly disinfect frequently used items and surfaces.”

Beginning June 15, participation in team athletic activities may proceed in any respect, as long as the guidelines listed are followed.

In order to reopen, entertainment venues must practice social distancing, not allowing patrons to congregate within six feet of people from a different household. The venues are also charged to require employees to wear facial coverings at all times and regularly sanitize the facility. The venues are not allowed to exceed 50% of its normal occupancy as determined by the fire marshal.

Effective June 1, all schools, public and private — including elementary, secondary, postsecondary, technical and specialty schools, and colleges and universities — must take reasonable steps, where practicable, to maintain six feet of separation between persons of different households.

Schools will also be required to regularly disinfect frequently used items and surfaces.

School employees must wear a facial covering at all times when in regular interaction within six feet of a person from a different household.

Effective May 23 at 5 p.m., child day care facilities will be required to follow similar guidelines as schools. The restriction against the number of children allowed in a day care facility has been lifted.

Also effective May 23 at 5 p.m., day and overnight summer camps can be held as long as social distancing and sanitation guidelines are followed.

No other changes to the safer-at-home order were made.

Despite amendments made and the percent of positive cases has declined over the last three weeks, Harris suggested citizens to continue acknowledging the safer-at-home order as well as the social distancing guidelines in place.

 “We do not believe we’re out of the woods yet,” Harris said. We need people to continue using face coverings and encourage people not to take unnecessary trips… No more than ever, we need to take social distancing more seriously.”

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