Breaking Down Alabama’s New ‘Safer at Home’ Order

Gov. Kay Ivey

At a press conference April 28, Gov. Kay Ivey announced a partial relaxation of restrictions she imposed, on March 27, in an earlier Stay at Home Order owing to the virus crisis.

The new Safer at Home Order, which goes into effect on April 30 at 5 p.m., is summarized below and is the first phase of the state’s relaxation of restrictions.

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said the new April 30th order is a partial implementation of Phase One of the White House’s Guideline for Opening up America Again. Alabama met all criteria for a full Phase One implementation except for the requirement for 14 consecutive days of a downward trajectory in documented cases or 14 days of downward trajectory of positive tests out of total tests.

Alabama did meet benchmarks for influenza-like illnesses reported and capacity of hospitals to treat patients, said Harris.

Included in the summary below under “non-work gatherings” are church services. Ivey asked her pastor to explain. First Baptist Church of Montgomery Pastor Rev. Jay Wolf said, “Alabama does not meet criteria for reopening worship to large and in-person gatherings.” He recommended “online services and drive-up worship services. It is not yet safe and wise to gather in person.”

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New Safer at Home Order

(Goes into effect April 30 at 5 p.m.)

New Updates


Encouraged to stay home and follow good sanitation practices


Businesses may open subject to sanitation and social-distancing guidelines; certain higher-risk businesses and activities remain closed.

Retail Stores

All retail stores open subject to 50 percent occupancy rate, social-distancing and sanitation rules


Open except no gatherings of 10 persons or more and people must maintain six feet of separation

Medical Procedures

Allowed unless prohibited in the future by the State Health Officer to preserve resources necessary to diagnose and treat COVID-19; providers must follow COVID-19-related rules and guidance from state regulatory boards or public health authorities

What’s Staying the Same

Non‑Work Gatherings

Still limited to fewer than 10 persons with 6 feet of distance between persons. “Drive-in” gatherings still permitted if participants stay in cars with people from their own households.

Senior Citizen Centers

Regular programming still suspended except meals still available through curbside pick-up or delivery

Educational Institutions

Still closed to in-person instruction (except for daytime special activities programs)

Child Day Care Facilities

Still must not allow 12 or more children in a room

Hospitals and Nursing Homes

Still must implement policies to restrict visitation

Restaurants, Bars and Breweries

Still limited to take-out, curbside or delivery

Still Closed

— Entertainment venues (such as night clubs, theaters, bowling alleys)
— Athletic facilities and activities (such as fitness centers and commercial gyms)
— Close-contact service providers (such as barber shops, hair salons, nail salons, tattoo services)

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