Ashleigh Crouch, Correspondent
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey announced a statewide health order on Wednesday in an effort to contain COVID-19.
Included in the order effective through April 5:
- All gatherings of 25 persons or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited. This Order shall apply to all gatherings, events or activities that bring 25 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time.
- Any restaurant, bar, brewery or similar establishments shall not permit on-premise consumption of food or drink. Governor Ivey continues to encourage patrons to visit their local eateries for take-out or delivery provided the social distancing protocols include maintaining a consistent six-foot distance between persons are followed.
- All beaches will be closed effective today at 5:00 p.m. For clarification, the term “beach” means the sandy shoreline area abutting the Gulf of Mexico, whether privately or publicly owned, including beach access points.
- Preschools and childcare centers will be closed effective at close of school or business today. This shall not apply to licensed childcare centers that provide services exclusively to employees with: State and Local Governments, First Responders (including EMS and Fire Services), Law Enforcement, Hospitals, Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities), End Stage Renal Disease Treatment Centers, Pharmacies and grocery stores.
- Effective immediately, all Hospitals and Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care Assisted Living Facilities) shall prohibit visitation of all visitors and non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations such as maternity and end-of-life.
- All elective dental and medical procedures shall be delayed, effective immediately.
Ivey stated that these parameters will remain in order through April 5th. Ivey’s announcement comes in the wake of worldwide efforts to “flatten the curve” of COVID-19 cases.
Jacksonville State University operational changes
The first case of COVID-19 was reported in Calhoun County on Wednesday, March 18. However, there are no confirmed cases of the virus on the campus of Jacksonville State University. At this time, no current students, faculty or staff have been diagnosed with the virus.
However, JSU made new operational changes on campus regarding the COVID-19 outbreak and Ivey’s order.
In a press release from the university, administrators announced that the two on-campus dining locations that remain open – Jack Hopper Dining Hall and The Red Rooster – are now takeout only. Takeout boxes will be provided to all customers and dining in will no longer be permitted.
The Recreation and Fitness Center will also be closed until further notice. Members will be given access to an at-home workout platform free of charge, and are invited to clear out their personal lockers on Friday, March 20 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
On-campus housing will remain open at this time.
JSU advises all faculty and students to continue to practice social distancing and reconsider any recreational travel arrangements over spring break.
As of Friday, March 20, there are currently 81 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state according to the Alabama Department of Public Health. There have been no COVID-19 related deaths in the state.