Mayor Gary Fuller Signs Executive Order Limiting Number of Customers at Retail and Grocery Stores


Special to the Opelika Observer

Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller signed an Executive Order today which will limit the number of customers in retail and grocery stores within the Opelika city limits. Mayor Fuller was given full authority by the City Council on March 17 with the approval Ordinance No. 008-20-ORD (Emergency Ordinance Concerning The Coronavirus Public Health Emergency).

The purpose of the new Executive Order is to prevent crowding at retail and grocery stores in order to protect the health of citizens in Opelika. Violations of this order are punishable as a misdemeanor.

Mayor Fuller expresses his gratitude to those store managers who have voluntarily implemented limits to the number of customers visiting.

“We started monitoring and noticed that some stores were not taking action on their own. Therefore, we determined that it was necessary to put some guidelines in place. Our primary objective is to keep our citizens safe, as well as the employees working in our retail and grocery stores. We have incredible merchants in Opelika and expect that they will fully cooperate with these requirements,” Mayor Fuller said.

The following guidelines are effective April 8 at 7 a.m.:

Social distancing:

  1. Allow no more than 20% of stated fire capacity in the store at a time. (Note this reduced capacity is approximately 150 square feet per person.) The 20% capacity limit does not apply to employees. Stores are required to count the number of customers entering and exiting the store and to enforce this as the emergency maximum occupancy.
  2. Clearly mark six-foot spacing in lines and other high-traffic areas and consider ways to encourage spacing if there are lines outside. Consider posting signage or using ropes to direct customers and to limit bottlenecks/encourage flow in high- density areas of stores.
  3. Designate employees to monitor social distancing and assist customers.
  4. Maximize space between customers and employees at checkout.
    Cleaning and sanitation:
  5. Designate employee(s) to ensure the cleaning guidelines set by the CDC are followed.
    Discontinue self-serve foods and product sampling.


  1. Post a conspicuous notice of the store’s emergency maximum occupancy at
    all entrances. Limit time in store, especially for vulnerable populations.
  2. Consider exclusive hours for those in high-risk populations, including seniors, where stores will limit their capacity to 10% of fire capacity at any time.
    Larger grocery stores and retailers (those with greater than 25,000 SF), are encouraged to offer pickup and/or delivery options.

The order remains in effect until such time it is rescinded by Mayoral Order.

For more information and updates, follow the City of Opelika’s social media pages or visit


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