Top Headlines: Reassurance from toilet paper makers, Jefferson County closures ordered

A point of pride: Alabama’s TP makers say they’ve got this
The shelves at the local grocery stores may be empty, but U.S. toilet paper manufacturers are adamant: We’ve got this. Having seen toilet paper panic buying in Asia as the COVID-19 virus began spreading outside of China, U.S. manufacturers said they ramped up production to avoid being caught flat-footed. Georgia-Pacific has increased shipments of its Quilted Northern and Angel Soft brands by about 120% above its normal capacity. Other paper companies with Alabama facilities are following suit. – AL NewsCenter

State Virus Cases at 157; Closures Ordered in Jefferson Co.
Health officials in Alabama’s largest county on Sunday ordered the closure of non-essential business, including hair salons and many retail stores, to curtail the spread of the coronavirus as the number of cases in the state grew to more than 155. Jefferson County Health Officer Mark Wilson said he was issuing the amended order to clarify what businesses should, and should not be, open. – AP

Navy tells Austal its work needs to continue for national security
Delivering military warships is a “national need” that is “unwavering and crucial” to national security and requires Mobile-based Austal USA’s employees during the COVID-19 pandemic, a high-ranking Navy official said Thursday. Assistant Secretary to the Navy James Geurts, in a letter to Austal President Craig Perciavalle, instructed the company to inform the Navy of problems that might arise while the company continues building ships at its Mobile-based facility. The company employs around 4,000 people. –

Shipt adding thousands of shoppers nationwide
Birmingham-based Shipt said it is hiring thousands of shoppers in the nation’s metropolitan areas in response to the demand for grocery delivery in the coronavirus pandemic. Shipt said it is hiring shoppers in the Boston, Washington, D.C., Miami, New York City, Minneapolis and Atlanta areas. There is no word on whether the company is hiring in Birmingham, or how many it might be seeking. Information can be found at the website. –

Police can now enforce Covid-19 orders with $500 fine
There’s now clear consequences for willingly breaking the state’s health orders meant to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. On Saturday, Alabama’s Attorney General gave guidance to Alabama law enforcement agencies statewide about their ability to enforce the emergency State Health Orders related to COVID-19. Any person or group willingly breaking the state health orders can be charged with a misdemeanor and fined up to $500 for a day. – ABC3340

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Crisis underlines problems associated with state’s digital divide
Before attempts to contain the new coronavirus sent Gulf Shores School System’s about 2,500 students home for at least two weeks, administrators asked if they have high-speed Internet there. “With this break, we realized we have a lot of kids without access,” said Matt Akin, superintendent of the system that opened this academic year. So, the system ordered 50 mobile hotspots to loan to students during the coronavirus-forced school shutdown. On the first day they were available, all but five were picked up. – WBRC

Airbus cancels dividend payment, lines up new credit
Airbus is canceling planned dividend payments and lining up 15 billion euros ($16 billion) in new credit to give the European aircraft giant more cash to weather the COVID-19 crisis. Airbus said Monday that withdrawing the proposed 2019 dividend payment of 1.8 euros ($1.90) per share will save the company 1.4 billion euros ($1.5 billion). The approval from Airbus’ directors for 15 billion euros in new borrowing is on top of an existing 3 billion euro ($3.2 billion) revolving credit facility. – AP

In the face of a pandemic, empty churches turn to technology
Dewayne Spivey walked alone to the lectern at Riverchase Church of Christ to begin Sunday’s service. The minister was waiting for the cue from the production staff in the gallery above then the service began in an empty church. “For our congregational singing this morning it’s going to be you signing,” said Spivey looking up to the camera. The congregation like virtually every church in the state was relegated to watching the service online. – ABC

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