Top Headlines: Honda plant remains open, Telemedicine gets a boost

Honda plant to remain open, rolls out options for Covid-19 scenarios
Honda Manufacturing of Alabama announced Tuesday it is continuing normal operations in Lincoln for now. A spokesperson Tuesday said all plants will remain open at this time and social distancing and staggering lunches had been implemented to keep contact limited. Honda is also offering temporary paid personal leave of absence for those affected by COVID-19. The paid leave does include an option for employees who are in need of childcare while schools and daycares are closed. – WVTM

Telemedicine is about to have its shining moment in the sun
Insurers are stepping up coverage plans to include telemedicine in their plans in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama, the state’s largest insurer, is expanding its telehealth benefit, while Aetna also announced it will offer zero co-pay telemedicine visits nationally for any reason for the next 90 days for all commercial plans. United Healthcare offers telemedicine through its mobile app. –

Spring breakers arriving at beaches, right on schedule
As schools and other public facilities continue to close to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, spring break at Alabama’s beaches hasn’t slowed down much. Aside from the city of Gulf Shores announcing the closing of some city facilities, not much has changed along the coast. The hotels and condos are booked, and visitors are still coming. – Fox 10

Flora-Bama announces a partial shutdown of operations
Coronavirus concerns have prompted a partial shutdown of the famed Flora-Bama. Spring break is usually a busy season for the venue, which kicked things off last week with a beach concert by country artist Riley Green. But the venue released a statement late Monday that operators had made a difficult decision “based on the CDC guidance given today by the White House and out of respect to the citizens of our country, the President of the United States, the States of Alabama & Florida, our local community, and the Flora-Bama family.” –

State Department of Revenue urges use of its online services
The Alabama Department of Revenue is encouraging all taxpayers to conduct their business with the Department through our online services. Taxpayers can take advantage of our website for information and answers to questions; use My Alabama Taxes (MAT) to file and pay taxes; or call 334-242-1170, if additional assistance is needed. – News release

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Alabama Power, Spire put service disconnects on hold for now
The Alabama Public Service Commission said Tuesday that Alabama Power and Spire will not disconnect services to customers during the COVID-19 crisis. Commission President Twinkle Cavanaugh said in a news release, “Not a single customer whose income has been affected by this health crisis has had their utility service discontinued.” – Fox 10

State officials expecting unemployment to begin rising
State officials announced this week Alabama’s January unemployment rate remained at a record low 2.7%, but an uptick is expected eventually as businesses and industries are affected by the coronavirus and efforts to slow its spread. To help those affected by business closures or slowdowns, the Alabama Department of Labor has modified existing rules to allow workers to file a claim for unemployment compensation benefits. – WBRC

Finally, good news arises from Covid 19 outbreak
Officials in Alabama have signed an emergency order to allow for the sale of alcoholic beverages curbside at licensed businesses in the state. The decision was made to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Effective today, locations licensed by the ABC board to sell alcohol either for on-premises consumption and/or off-premises consumption may now sell via curbside pick-up or take-out services. – WBRC

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