State of Alabama Issues Shutdown Order

NOTE: Because the COVID-19 situation is dynamic, with new governmental measures each day, employers should consult with counsel for the latest developments and updated guidance on this topic.

On March 27, 2020, Alabama State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris executed a statewide Order suspending certain public gatherings due to the risk of infection by COVID-19.  Under the Order, the following businesses are closed as of March 28, 2020 at 5:00 p.m.:

Non-essential retail stores:

  • Furniture and home furnishing stores
  • Clothing, shoe and clothing accessory stores
  • Jewelry, luggage and leather goods stores
  • Department stores
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Book, craft and music stores

Close-contact service providers, including:

  • Barber shops
  • Hair salons
  • Waxing salons
  • Threading salons
  • Nail salons and spas
  • Body art facilities and tattoo services
  • Massage therapy establishments and services

Entertainment venues, including:

  • Night clubs
  • Bowling alleys
  • Arcades
  • Concert venues
  • Theaters, auditoriums, and performing arts centers
  • Tourist attractions (including museums and planetariums)
  • Racetracks
  • Children’s indoor play areas
  • Adult entertainment venues
  • Casinos
  • Bingo halls
  • Venues operated by social clubs

Athletic facilities, including:

  • Fitness centers and commercial gyms
  • Spas and public or commercial swimming pools
  • Yoga, barre and spin facilities
  • Spectator sports
  • Sports that involve interaction within six feet of another person
  • Activities that require use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment
  • Activities on commercial or public playground equipment

The Order also shut down all beaches, whether public or privately owned, including beach access points.  Also closed are in-person instruction or classes at all schools, public and private.

Senior citizen centers must end all regular programs other than providing needed meals via curbside pick-up or delivery. In addition, visitation of all visitors and non-essential care personnel is prohibited at all hospitals and nursing home/long-term care facilities (including assisted living and specialty care assisted living facilities), except for certain compassionate care situations such as maternity and end-of-life.

Effective March 28, 2020 at 5:00 p.m., all dental, medical, or surgical procedures must be postponed until further notice, subject to the following exceptions:

  • Dental, medical, or surgical procedures necessary to treat an emergency medical condition, which is a medical condition with acute symptoms of sufficient severity (including severe pain, psychiatric disturbances, and/or symptoms of substance abuse) such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected by a person’s licensed medical provider to result in placing the health of the person in serious jeopardy or causing serious impairment to bodily functions or serious dysfunction of bodily organs
  • Dental, medical, or surgical procedures necessary to avoid serious harm from an underlying condition or disease, or necessary as part of a patient’s ongoing and active treatment

As of March 19, 2020, at 5:00 p.m., all restaurants, bars, breweries, or similar establishments are not permitted on-premises consumption of food or drink, but may continue to offer food for take-out or delivery provided the social distancing protocols, including maintaining a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are followed.

The Order makes clear that it is not intended to prevent any employers from making continued and necessary staffing decisions. Employers are authorized to advise employees to work from home or maintain flexible work schedules. If working from home is not feasible, the employee should practice social distancing (by maintaining consistent six-foot distance between persons) and follow public health guidelines.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.