By Will Fairless
Gov. Kay Ivey made a proclamation on Monday that the threat of now Hurricane Sally, coupled with COVID-19’s thinning and weakening of the state’s resources, required that Alabama officially be in a state of emergency.
Hurricane Sally strengthened to a Category 1 hurricane on Monday and as of press time was expected to make landfall near or in Baldwin or Mobile County. The people of Alabama who are in the storm’s path (when that path is revealed as it can only be by the storm itself) will be at risk of property loss, physical injury and death.
The proclamation mentions that there is a chance that essential utility systems could be disrupted (and in fact it later reads, “this storm is expected to cause significant damage to public and private property and seriously disrupt essential utility services and systems,” the key words there being: “this storm is expected to seriously disrupt essential utility services”), causing extreme peril to the citizens in the state of Alabama.
The COVID-19 public health emergency plays a role in this state of emergency being declared, as it has demanded massive amounts of state and local resources to prevent its spread.
The proclamation reads, “Whereas this storm event, coupled with the COVID-19 public health emergency, poses extraordinary conditions of disaster and of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the State, and it is anticipated that these conditions, by reason of their magnitude, are, or are likely to be, beyond the control of the services, personnel, equipment, and facilities of any single county, city and county, or city, and will require combined forces to combat.”
The existing COVID-19 Orders are still in effect, except that any provision under them that would endanger anyone affected by the storm or impede anyone from preserving human life during the storm is suspended.
The proclamation goes on to say that the Alabama National Guard is to prepare to be activated, that price gouging is illegal, that certain federal motor-carrier regulations are waived, that the transportation of emergency supplies should be expedited and that some state government offices may be closed.