Safer-at-home order extended through Dec.

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By Hannah Lester
hlester@opelikaobserver.com

Gov. Kay Ivey held a press conference Thursday morning and decided to extend her safer-at-home order. 

The order was set to expire on Sunday but will now continue through Dec. 11. 

A few things changed in the order, specifically to allow businesses and restaurants to increase their occupancy.

“You cannot have a life without a livelihood,” Ivey said.

Ivey said she had hoped to let the order expire this month, but soon it will be up to individuals to take social distancing and wearing masks upon themselves.

“I know you can’t go on forever with a government mandate, especially if you don’t have buy-in from the public you serve.”

Masks are still required in the state. The last order lifted some of the restrictions regarding nursing homes/assisted living facilities. 

Businesses can now have the normal occupancy and restaurants can too, so long as they install plexiglass dividers, Ivey said.

“This should be welcome news as we get ready for the upcoming holiday season,” she said.

EAMC shared a graph on Nov. 2 showing the current COVID-19 numbers for Lee County. 

“While zero is the ultimate number of COVID-19 hospitalizations that EAMC officials hope to one day see, remaining under 40 is considered somewhat manageable,” the facebook post said. “Since August 18, EAMC has been under 40 hospitalizations with the exception of October 9 when the COVID census at EAMC was exactly 40.”

There were 22 COVID-19 hospitalizations on Nov. 22 and 3 COVID-19 ventilator uses, according to the graph. 

“Here we are eight months later,” Ivey said. “I state that our nation and world are still grappling with how to keep people safe while ensuring that people have jobs can keep on working and those businesses that have been sidelined can get back to work sooner rather than later … More than 3,000 Alabamians have died from this deadly virus. While obviously some folks are more susceptible due to age and pre-exisiting conditions, no one is immune.”

Ivey was asked if she is opposed to lifting the mask order before a vaccine is released. 

She said that the state should look at numbers and do what is practical. She said she is tired of the masks too but believes the state will be better when a vaccine is available. 

Holidays are coming up and State Health Officer Scott Harris had advice for family gatherings. 

“This is the time for people to really be careful about who they gather with,” he said. “We all want to get together to see your family at holiday time but this is a special year. A year unlike any we’ve ever had.”

He encouraged people to look at virtual options or gather outdoors. 

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