Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday announced that Alabama’s COVID-19 public health order is extended until May 31 and that the state of emergency is to remain in place until July 6.
Ivey’s statewide mask order expired April 9, the same day her “safer at home” health order transitioned to the current “safer apart” health order, which includes no business closures or limitations, but instead contains recommendations for the public to use precautions. The order does have specific guidance for nursing homes and hospitals. Barring any spikes in new cases, that guidance will be lifted when her health order expires May 31.
“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.”
“Alabamians have consistently stepped up to the plate over the course of this pandemic, and I know they will continue to do so,” Ivey continued. “I am pleased that we have shown the rest of the country that we are gritty and determined. We are signaling loud and clear that Alabama is open, and we are moving forward.”
Ivey and state public health officials still recommend wearing face masks and avoiding large crowds. Her “safer apart” order was to expire Wednesday.
“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 Dr. Scott Harris in a statement. “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.”
“We are very appreciative of Governor Ivey and our excellent working relationship with the Alabama National Guard. The state is really fortunate to have these men and women to support us,” Harris continued. “Guard members have concluded six weeks of vaccination clinics in 24 rural and underserved counties, and now are planning smaller mobile sites in each public health district to offer vaccine to hard-to-reach populations. I am excited about the progress that has been made.”
Ivey encouraged those Alabamians 16 and older to get vaccinated. The number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Alabama has dropped nearly in half in the last two weeks, and public health officials are concerned it means fewer people are seeking out those vaccines.
“Look, I have been vaccinated. I believe in the science, believe that it works and have confidence in it,” Ivey said. “So, like I said, I have been fully vaccinated, and I will live like I have been fully 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.”