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Alabama Reopens: Amended Safer at Home Order Loosens Restrictions on Additional Businesses

On May 21, 2020, Governor Kay Ivey issued an amended Safer at Home order that removed restrictions and provided extended guidance to Alabama businesses as the state continued to reopen. The order is effective as of May 22, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. and will expire on July 3, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. Under Alabama’s previous Safer at Home order, the state had reopened and relaxed restrictions that had been imposed on several types of businesses and recreational operations, including restaurants, bars, breweries, athletic facilities, close-contact service providers, and beaches. The newly amended Safer at Home order allows for the reopening of the following kinds of establishments and activities.

Entertainment Venues

Effective May 22, 2020, at 5:00 p.m., entertainment venues may reopen at 50 percent occupancy. According to the order, “entertainment venues” include “bowling alleys, arcades, concert venues, theaters, auditoriums, performing centers, tourist attractions (including museums and planetariums), race tracks, commercial or public playgrounds, adult entertainment venues, casinos, and bingo halls. ‘Entertainment venue’ does not include playgrounds operated by educational institutions and child care facilities . . . ‘Entertainment venue’ also does not include ‘night clubs.’” Each employee must wear a facial covering when interacting with guests. The order requires entertainment venues to follow social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines, and “strongly encourage[s]” entertainment venues to implement the Alabama Department of Public Health’s (ADPH) “Guidelines for Entertainment Venues and Tourist Attractions.”

Athletic Activities

The order defines “athletic activities” as “sports that involve interaction with another person of closer than six feet” and “activities that require use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment.” From May 22, 2020, through June 14, 2020, team athletic activities limited to practices involving “conditioning, skill drills, and similar activities” may take place. Beginning June 15, 2020, participation in team athletic activities in any respect, including competition, may proceed subject to social distancing, facial covering, and sanitation guidelines. The order advises organizers of athletic activities to implement the ADPH “Guidelines for Adult and Youth Athletic Activities.”

Educational Institutions

Effective June 1, 2020, educational institutions may reopen. The term “educational institutions” includes “all schools, public and private—including elementary, secondary, postsecondary, technical, and specialty schools, and colleges and universities.” Educational institutions must comply with social distancing, sanitation, and facial covering rules. Further, the order “strongly encourage[s]” educational institutions to implement additional measures. For public K–12 schools, the order provides the guidance found here.

Child Day Care Facilities

Facilities providing child day care, “including any child day care facility described in Ala. Code § 38-7-2,” may resume operation effective May 23, 2020, at 5:00 p.m. These facilities are required to comply with the order’s social distancing rules, as well as its sanitation and facial covering guidelines. In addition, the order states that employees of such child day care facilities “shall not knowingly allow parents or other guests to congregate within six feet of a person from another household.” The order recommends that child day care facilities “read and implement the [ADPH’s] ‘Guidelines for Child Day Care Facilities.’”

Youth Summer Camps

Day and overnight youth summer camps may resume operation effective May 23, 2020. These camps must abide by the social distancing, sanitation, and facial covering rules outlined in the order. Additionally, the order “strongly encourage[s]” these camps to comply with and implement the ADPH’s “Guidelines for Day and Overnight Youth Summer Camps.”

Safeguards for All Businesses

All businesses that have reopened or will reopen as a result of the amended Safer At Home order are subject to the order’s social distancing, sanitation, and facial covering rules. Employees of these businesses may not knowingly allow guests or customers “to congregate within six feet of a person from another household,” must take “reasonable steps … [to] regularly disinfect[] frequently used items and surfaces,” and should wear facial coverings when in regular interaction with guests or customers. In addition, the order encourages businesses to go beyond the order’s minimum safety standards and  implement the ADPH’s “Guidelines for Safeguarding All Businesses.”

© 2020, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 148



About this Author

Sierra J. Gray Traditional Labor Relations Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart Birmingham, AL

Sierra Gray is an associate in the Birmingham office of Ogletree Deakins.

She advises employers in a variety of labor and employment matters. She is dedicated to helping her clients navigate complex workplace issues by providing practical advice and efficient, innovative representation. Sierra also represents employers in all aspects of traditional labor relations including representing and advising employers in union representation and unfair labor practice charges.

Prior to attending law school, Sierra graduated magna cum laude from Tuskegee University with a...