Gov. Kay Ivey announced in a press conference last Friday that restaurants, hair salons, barbor shops and gyms will be able to reopen with strict social distancing restrictions beginning May 11.
While the threat of the disease is active and deadly, the new amended health order allows restaurants to operate at a 50 percent compact while continuing to maintain a social distance of 6-feet between people.
"There is no longer a number associated with gatherings; we want people to maintain a 6-foot distance," State Health Officer Scott Harris said. Harris told Alabamians that more outbreaks are likely to occur but the state is well prepared to deal with them.
As of Tuesday morning, there have been 10,164 confirmed case in Alabama with 84 of those being in St. Clair County.
Pell City Mayor Bill Pruitt wrote a letter to State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris asking that Pell City businesses be allowed to open early. Pruitt posted on Facebook Friday “Let's go back to work! While everything has not been restored, this was a substantial step in the right direction.”
Some residents of St. Clair County are leery about the reopening while some are in complete support. “I'm really nervous about it, but if proper sanitation and precautions are taken then it should be fine,” Jessica Collins shared in a comment on Facebook.
Many people shared how they got up early Monday morning and worked out or got their nails done, while others said they are going to wait it out. Mary Taylor shared that although she is happy ti see businesses reopening and people getting back to work, she will be going out in due time.
Several municipalities are preparing to begin operations. Springville and Pell City laid out plans during their City Council meetings on how they will reopen city buildings.
Springville mayor Butch Isley said the first phase of the plan, instructs employees to return to work. The second phase depends on the governor allowing gatherings of 50 or more people and the third phase would be put into place at the end of the current state of emergency.
“All of these plans, and movement between these plans, are subject to state orders,” Isley said.
The stages of the plan are specific to each city building. The phases will be implemented as one however, each building has different precaution unique to their facility.
Also in this plan, the city approved up to $10,000 to add partitions in buildings and $1,910 to upgrade the Fire Department iPads for use in the library and for a notification system for the Municipal Court. The system is used to inform court participates and library guests when they can enter the building.
As of May 12, Pell City reopened the civic center, library and sports complex to public use. City Hall remains closed until protective barriers can be installed, after which, will reopen.
The city has composed a reopening plan that lays out guidelines for employees and frequent asked questions to address concerns over compensation and leave usage due to coronavirus. Personal protective equipment, including masks, and hand sanitizer will be readily available for staff use at their discretion.
City Manager Brian Muenger shared with the council that throughout the period of closure, the vast majority of City services have continued without interruption. This has caused city business to not fall behind.