Alabama Stay-at-Home Order Rules Explained As Coronavirus Cases Pass 2,000

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey issued a statewide stay-at-home order over the weekend. Until then, it was one of four states that had more than 1,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus yet to implement such an order.

Alabama had 2,006 confirmed cases and 53 deaths at the time of writing, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.

On April 3, Governor Ivey tweeted: "My fellow Alabamians, I plead with you to do your part to #StopTheSpread of #COVID19. We've got to take this order dead serious; otherwise, the fact is more people will end up dying."

My fellow Alabamians, I plead with you to do your part to #StopTheSpread of #COVID19. We’ve got to take this order dead serious; otherwise, the fact is more people will end up dying. #alpolitics #TogetherAL @ALPublicHealth

— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) April 3, 2020

The order went into effect on Saturday, April 4, at 5 p.m. It will last until at least Thursday, April 30, 2020, at 5 p.m. But what are the Alabama stay-at-home order rules?

Alabama Stay-at-Home Order Rules

Alabama residents must stay at home, apart from when getting necessary supplies for themselves or a loved one who cannot leave their home. The stay-at-home order describes necessary supplies like food and essential consumer goods, such as cleaning supplies and health and safety equipment, prescriptions and medical supplies, and pet supplies.

Other necessary supplies include supplies needed to work from home, materials for education-related purposes, and fuels and supplies for vehicles.

Residents of Alabama may also leave their homes to perform necessary services for themselves or a loved one. Necessary services include essential dental, medical, or surgical procedures, accessing government-funded services or benefits, and automobile repair services.

Other necessary services include services vital to the treatment or care of people with physical, intellectual, or developmental disabilities, or people with substance-use disorders, and services related to education, including services approved by the State Superintendent of Education.

Additionally, residents may leave their homes to access a service that is essential to maintaining a person or pet's health and safety.

Alabama State Capitol
Exterior view of the Alabama State Capitol on March 22, 2020, in Montgomery, Alabama. Taylor Hill/Getty

When can you leave your home?

Attending religious services is permitted, as long as there are fewer than 10 people in attendance and everyone remains six feet away from each other.

Alternatively, "drive-in" worship services are permitted, as long as everyone remains inside their vehicles, passengers within one vehicle are members of the same household, and participants keep a six-feet distance from other participants.

Under the stay-at-home order, Alabama residents are permitted to leave their home to take care of others and to visit members of their family who live in a different household, to go to work (if they are an essential worker), and to participate in an outdoor activity with fewer than 10 people while maintaining a distance of six feet.

Alabama residents can also leave their homes to seek shelter if their residence is unsafe or at imminent risk of becoming unsafe, and to access services like food banks. Residents are also permitted to leave their homes for reasons required by law, such as transporting a child due to a custody arrangement.

Essential Businesses, Operations, and Workers

  • Government operations, such as law enforcement and first responders.
  • Healthcare workers, such as doctors, nurses, and dentists.
  • Infrastructure Operations, including electric, natural gas, and water utility workers.
  • Manufacturing facilities, including food processing and production and companies that produce pharmaceuticals.
  • Agricultural operations and farms, including food cultivation.
  • Restaurants and bars.
  • Essential personal services, such as trash collection, mail and shipping services, and home repair.
  • Animal shelters and childcare facilities.
  • Laundromats, laundry services, and dry cleaners.
  • Public transportation.
  • Funeral, cemetery, and related services.
  • Media operations
  • Education operations supporting distance learning.
  • Financial services, like banks, and professional services, like legal, accounting, insurance, and real estate services.
  • Non-profit organizations, food banks, homeless shelters, and congregate-care facilities.

For a full list of essential services and workers under Alabama's stay-at-home order, consult the statewide order.

Essential Stores

According to Alabama's stay-at-home order, the following retailers can remain open, as long as they operate with less than 50 percent occupancy, and follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines:

  • Supermarkets, food and beverage stores, including liquor stores and warehouse clubs, food providers, and convenience stores.
  • Office-supply stores, bookstores, and computer stores.
  • Pharmacies and health care supply stores.
  • Hardware stores, home improvement stores, building materials stores, and stores that sell electrical, plumbing, and heating materials.
  • Gun stores.
  • Gas stations and auto, farm equipment, bicycle, motorcycle, and boat supply and repair stores.
  • Businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, and goods directly to residences.

What will close under the Alabama stay-at-home order?

  • Entertainment venues, including night clubs, bowling alleys, arcades, concert venues, theaters, tourist attractions, racetracks, indoor children's play areas, casinos, and bingo halls.
  • Athletic facilities including fitness centers and commercial gyms, spas and public swimming pools, spectator sports, sports that involve interaction with another person of closer than six feet, activities that require the use of shared sporting equipment, and activities on public playground equipment.
  • Close-contact providers including hair salons, waxing and threading salons, nail salons, spas, tattoo services, tanning salons, and massage services.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.