Top Headlines: Future of the Alabama economy, Coronavirus stalls Birmingham rebound

UA analysts say Alabama economy could be back on its feet by year’s end
Sam Addy, associate dean for economic development outreach and senior research economist, and Ahmad Ijaz, the Center for Business and Economic Research’s executive director and director of economic forecasting, have released an analysis of the state and national outlook in the midst of the measures in place against COVID-19. Their analysis is potentially positive, depending on how the U.S. and Alabama adapt to the situation. –

Coronavirus stalls Birmingham’s retail rebound
March 11, the day coronavirus was officially declared a pandemic, will be remembered as a turning point for Birmingham. “When we talk about dates that live in infamy, we have Sept. 11, Dec. 7, and I think March 11 will go down in our industry as a day as significant as the Great Recession that began in 2008 and Sept. 11 in how it affected travel and tourism,” Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau President John Oros said. –

European airline easyJet asks to cancel $5.5B contract with Airbus
The founder and top shareholder of European carrier easyJet says the company has enough money only to get through August at best and wants to cancel a 4.5 billion-pound ($5.5 billion) contract with planemaker Airbus for what he calls 107 “useless aircraft.” EasyJet, which flies predominantly in Europe, has grounded all 344 planes and like other airlines is struggling mightily with the global lockdowns on business and travel. – AP

Some businesses staying afloat with hastily created online plans
Melinda Jones turned to the internet as a way to keep her small downtown Decatur business afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, and so far she has found success. Jones, the owner of Second Read Books in downtown Decatur, said she proactively closed the store’s doors March 17 and began to contemplate how her business could survive the shutdown. “How am I going to keep the doors open?” Jones wondered. “I’m not going to go in debt to save the store. We got creative and found a way.” – Decatur Daily 

Alabama automakers contribute to COVID-19 fight
Alabama’s automakers are doing what they can to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. Toyota’s engine plant in Huntsville is producing 7,500 protective face shields for local hospitals. The plant has donated 160 safety glasses to local hospitals. Toyota has also made a $25,000 to the United Way of Madison County to support COVID-19 relief efforts. – AL Political Reporter

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Downtown Huntsville dining: How it may be changed forever
Chad Emerson has long been a champion of restaurants, bars and other businesses downtown. But lately he’s been even more than that. Emerson, and the development nonprofit Downtown Huntsville Inc. he’s CEO of, has played a pivotal role in getting the word out, particularly on Facebook, on how people can still support local restaurants during the pandemic. When people can hug each other again someday, the service industry here should give Emerson a gigantic embrace. –

Motor vehicle deadline moved to May by state
Vernon Barnett, the commissioner of the Alabama of Department of Revenue, released an order that will extend the time to obtain March and April motor vehicle registrations on vehicles. The previous order extended March registrations until April. Barnett has now changed March and April registrations until May. – Dothan Eagle

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