Special to the
Opelika Observer

Gov. Kay Ivey announced an amendment to the Safer at Home health order on May 8 that expands the list of businesses that are permitted to reopen. The following changes will go into effect on May 11 and will run through May 22:

-Non-work gatherings are no longer limited to 10 people or word fewer. However, individuals at gatherings are still required to maintain six feet between people not from the same household.

-Restaurants, bars and breweries may open with limited table seating and must maintain six feet between tables. These businesses are also subject to additional sanitation rules and guidelines.

-Athletic facilities such as fitness centers and commercial gyms may open subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines. Facilities must limit occupancy to 50%.

-Certain athletic activities are still prohibited, including sports that involve interaction with another person of closer than six feet, activities that require use of shared sporting equipment and activities on commercial or public playground equipment.

-Close-contact service providers such as barber shops, hair salons, nail salons and tattoo services may open subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines.

-Beaches no longer have any limit on gatherings, but individuals must maintain six feet of separation.

The following guidelines will remain the same through May 22:

-Individuals are encouraged to stay home and follow good sanitation practices.

-Retail stores are subject to 50% occupancy rate, social-distancing and sanitation rules.

-Entertainment venues are closed.

-Medical procedures are 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.

-Regular programming at senior citizen centers is suspended except for meals provided through curbside pickup or delivery.

-Educational institutions will remain closed to in-person instruction.

-Child day care facilities may not allow 12 or more children in one room.

-Hospitals and nursing homes must continue policies restricting visitation.

All City of Auburn buildings will remain closed to the public. The city remains operationally open, maintaining regular services supported by the city’s dedicated staff. City parks will remain open, but playgrounds, basketball courts, tennis courts and athletic facilities will remain closed. Any changes regarding city facilities and activities will be announced next week.

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Following is a statement from Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller addressing Gov. Kay Ivey’s announced amendments to the state’s current Safer-at-Home order on Friday.

“Hello Opelika – I’m pleased with Gov. Kay Ivey’s amended Safer at Home order (Friday). I know that our businesses look forward to opening and serving our community. While we have been given the okay to open many of our businesses, we ask that people still proceed with caution and follow the guidelines set forth by the CDC and Alabama Department of Public Health. Practice social distancing of six feet, maintain good hygiene and stay at home if you can. Let’s do this right so we can continue to see things open and life bet back to normal. We’re in this together. I want to thank you for doing your part in the fight against COVID-19.”