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Restaurant dining rooms, ‘close contact’ businesses, athletic facilities can reopen Monday with restrictions

During a press conference Friday morning, Governor Kay Ivey announced that Alabama’s ‘safer at home’ health order, originally set to expire on May 15, has been amended to allow restaurant dining rooms and ‘close contact’ businesses such as hair salons to reopen to the public beginning Monday, May 11.

The amended order also lifts the ban on non-work gatherings of 10 or more.

Non-work related gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons from different households are prohibited.

Organizers of church services are strongly encouraged to read and implement the Alabama Department of Public Health’s Guidelines for Places of Worship.

Restaurant dining rooms, bars and breweries may reopen Monday with the following stipulations:

  • Insofar as such establishments offer on-premises consumption of food or drink, they must limit the party size at tables to no more than eight persons and maintain at least six feet of separation between people seated at different tables, booths, chairs, or stools.
  • Each employee shall wear a mask or other facial covering that covers his or her nostrils and mouth at all times while in regular interaction with patrons or guests.
  • Such establishments must disallow self-service by guests at drink stations, buffets, or salad bars.

Close-contact service providers — such as barber shops, hair salons, waxing salons, threading salons, nail salons & spas, body art facilities, tattoo services, and massage therapy establishments & services — may reopen Monday with six-foot social distancing between clients. Employees must wear masks or other facial coverings while providing services within six feet of a client.

Athletic facilities (fitness centers & commercial gyms, spas, and yoga, barre and spin facilities) may reopen at 50-percent capacity with social distancing and other measures, including employees wearing masks or other facial coverings while in regular interaction with clients or guests.

Unless otherwise permitted or required by the order, “the operator of any business, government office, or other establishment open to the public shall take reasonable steps, where practicable, to protect their customers, constituents, or other guests” by:

a. maintaining six feet of separation between such persons (except for those persons who share the same household); and

b. regularly disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces.

All retail stores are required to comply with the following rules:

a. Emergency maximum occupancy rate. Occupancy shall be limited to no more than 50 percent of the normal occupancy load as determined by the fire marshal. This “emergency maximum occupancy rate” shall be posted in a conspicuous place, and enough staff shall be posted at the store entrances and exits to enforce this requirement.

b. Social distancing. An employee of the retail store may not knowingly allow customers or patrons to congregate within six feet of a person from another household.

c. Sanitation. The retail store shall take reasonable steps to comply with guidelines on sanitation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alabama Department of Public Health.

“Higher-risk businesses and activities,” including night clubs, bowling alleys, theaters and concert venues, remain closed to the public.

The amended order will remain in effect until 5 p.m. on Friday, May 22.

Click here to read the order in its entirety.

Follow the Alabama Department of Public Health’s website and Facebook page for up-to-date information.

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