Returning to Work
Work Hard. Work Smart. Work Safe. Playbook for reopening your business in the age of COVID-19.
Proceed with Caution!
ORDER OF THE STATE HEALTH OFFICER
SUSPENDING CERTAIN PUBLIC GATHERINGS
DUE TO RISK OF INFECTION BY COVID-19
AMENDED MAY 8, 2020
WHEREAS Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been detected in Alabama; and
WHEREAS the appearance of COVID-19 in the State poses the potential of widespread
exposure to an infectious agent that poses significant risk of substantial harm to a large number
of people; and
WHEREAS the State Board of Health has designated COVID-19 to be a disease of
epidemic potential, a threat to the health and welfare of the public, or otherwise of public health
WHEREAS on March 13, 2020, on recommendation of the State Health Officer, Kay
Ivey, Governor of the State of Alabama, declared a state public health emergency exists in the
State of Alabama; and
WHEREAS on March 16, 2020, the Jefferson County Health Officer, in response to a
rapidly growing number of cases of COVID-19 being detected in Jefferson County, issued an
order suspending certain public gatherings in that county; and
WHEREAS on March 17, 2020, the State Health Officer issued a similar order for
counties surrounding Jefferson, including Blount, St. Clair, Shelby, Tuscaloosa, and Walker
WHEREAS on March 19, 2020, the State Health Officer issued an order, and on March
20, 2020, March 27, 2020, April 3, 2020, and April 28, 2020, amended orders, of statewide
application suspending certain public gatherings; and
WHEREAS social-distancing and related measures remain necessary on a statewide
basis to prevent the spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS Ala. Code § 22-2-2(4) authorizes the State Health Officer, on behalf of the
State Board of Health, to direct that conditions prejudicial to health in public places within the
State be abated;
NOW THEREFORE, THESE PREMISES CONSIDERED, it is ordered that the
following Safer at Home order be implemented statewide:
1. Recommendations for individuals. Effective April 30, 2020, at 5:00 P.M., all
individuals—and especially vulnerable persons—are encouraged to exercise personal
responsibility in slowing the spread of COVID-19 by:
a. Minimizing travel outside the home, especially if sick;
b. Wearing face coverings around people from other households when it is necessary to
leave the home;
c. Washing hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitizer, especially after
touching frequently used items or surfaces;
d. Refraining from touching one’s face;
e. Sneezing or coughing into a tissue, or the inside of one’s elbow; and
f. Disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
“Vulnerable persons” means individuals 65 years and older or individuals with serious
underlying health conditions, including high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes,
obesity, asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised such as by chemotherapy for
cancer and other conditions requiring such therapy.
2. Quarantine for infected persons. Effective immediately, any person who has tested
positive for COVID-19—other than institutionalized persons—shall be quarantined to their place
of residence for a period of 14 days, or other period of time as directed by the State Health
Officer, or his designee, after receiving positive test results. Any person quarantined pursuant to
this provision shall not leave their place of residence for any reason other than to seek necessary
medical treatment. Any person requiring assistance while under quarantine may contact
Alabama Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster, http://alvoad.communityos.org/cms. While
under quarantine, the person shall take precautions as directed by his or her health care provider
or the Alabama Department of Public Health to prevent the spread of the disease to others.
3. Non-work related gatherings. Effective May 11, 2020, all non-work related
gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons from
different households are prohibited.
Organizers of religious gatherings are strongly encouraged to read and implement the
Alabama Department of Public Health’s “Guidelines for Places of Worship,” available at
4. Protections for employees. Effective May 11, 2020, and unless otherwise permitted or
required by this order, all employers shall take reasonable steps, where practicable as work duties
permit, to protect their employees by:
a. maintaining six feet of separation between employees;
b. regularly disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces;
c. encouraging handwashing;
d. preventing employees who are sick from coming into contact with other persons;
e. facilitating remote working arrangements; and
f. minimizing employee travel.
In addition to complying with the requirements of this paragraph, employers are strongly
encouraged to read and implement the Alabama Department of Public Health’s “Guidelines for
Safeguarding All Businesses,” available at https://alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/assets/covsah-
5. Protections for customers, etc. Effective May 11, 2020, and unless otherwise
permitted or required by this order, the operator of any business, government office, or other
establishment open to the public shall take reasonable steps, where practicable, to protect their
customers, constituents, or other guests by:
a. maintaining six feet of separation between such persons (except for those persons who
share the same household); and
b. regularly disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces.
6. Retailers. Effective May 11, 2020, all retail stores shall comply with the following
a. Emergency maximum occupancy rate. Occupancy shall be limited to no more than 50
percent of the normal occupancy load as determined by the fire marshal. This
“emergency maximum occupancy rate” shall be posted in a conspicuous place, and
enough staff shall be posted at the store entrances and exits to enforce this requirement.
b. Social distancing. An employee of the retail store may not knowingly allow customers or
patrons to congregate within six feet of a person from another household.
c. Sanitation. The retail store shall take reasonable steps to comply with guidelines on
sanitation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Alabama
Department of Public Health.
7. Close-contact service providers. Effective May 11, 2020, close-contact service
providers—such as barber shops, hair salons, waxing salons, threading salons, nail salons and
spas, body art facilities, tattoo services, and massage therapy establishments and services—shall
comply with the following rules:
a. Social distancing. Employees shall not knowingly allow clients or persons
accompanying a client to congregate within six feet of a person from another household.
b. Facial coverings. Each employee shall wear a mask, or other facial covering that covers
his or her nostrils and mouth, at all times while providing services within 6 feet of a
c. Hand sanitation.
(i) Employees shall wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately
before providing services within 6 feet of a client.
(ii) Employees of all close-contact service providers are encouraged—and employees
providing nail services or facial services are required—to wear gloves when
providing services within 6 feet of a client. To the extent employees wear gloves
when providing services, they should use a new pair of gloves for each client and
should put them on immediately after washing their hands.
In addition to complying with the requirements of this paragraph, close-contact service
providers are strongly encouraged to read and implement the Alabama Department of Public
Health’s “Guidelines for Close Contact Personal Service Businesses,” available at
8. Athletic facilities. Effective May 11, 2020, athletic facilities—such as fitness centers
and commercial gyms, spas, and yoga, barre, and spin facilities—shall comply with the
a. Social distancing.
(i) Employees shall not knowingly allow patrons or guests to congregate within six
feet of a person from another household.
(ii) Employees shall not knowingly allow patrons or guests to participate in any of the
athletic activities prohibited in paragraph 9—including sports that involve
interaction with another person of closer than 6 feet and activities that require use
of shared sporting apparatus and equipment.
(iii) Employees must take reasonable steps to prevent people from congregating in
lobby areas, break rooms, and other common areas.
b. Limits on facility access. An athletic facility must limit facility occupancy to 50 percent
of the normal occupancy load as determined by the fire marshal. Athletic facilities must
also prohibit patrons and guests from accessing showers, hot tubs, steam rooms, lockers,
saunas and other recreational water or spa facilities. Pools may be open subject to the
social-distancing rules of this paragraph.
c. Facial coverings. Each employee shall wear a mask or other facial covering that covers
his or her nostrils and mouth at all times while in regular interaction with clients or
In addition to complying with the requirements of this paragraph, operators of athletic
facilities are strongly encouraged to read and implement the Alabama Department of Public
Health’s “Guidelines for Athletic Facilities,” available at
9. Higher-risk businesses and activities. Effective May 11, 2020, and notwithstanding
any other provision of this order, the following businesses, venues, and activities shall not take
place or be closed to spectators, audience members, or members of the public to which these
businesses, venues, and activities are normally open:
a. Entertainment venues as follows:
(i) Night clubs
(ii) Bowling alleys
(iv) Concert venues
(v) Theaters, auditoriums, and performing arts centers
(vi) Tourist attractions (including museums and planetariums)
(viii) Indoor children’s play areas
(ix) Adult entertainment venues
(xi) Bingo halls
(xii) Venues operated by social clubs
b. Athletic activities as follows:
(i) Sports that involve interaction with another person of closer than 6 feet
(ii) Activities that require use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment
(iii) Activities on commercial or public playground equipment
10. Beaches. Effective May 11, 2020, anyone using the beaches must maintain a
consistent six-foot distance between himself or herself and all persons from a different
household. For purposes of this section, the term “beach” means the sandy shoreline area
abutting the Gulf of Mexico, whether privately or publicly owned, including beach access points.
11. Senior Citizen Centers. Effective March 20, 2020, all regular programs at Senior
Citizen Centers shall be ended except that Senior Citizen Centers and their partners are urged to
assure that their clients continue to receive needed meals via curbside pick-up or delivery.
12. Educational institutions and child day care facilities. Effective March 20, 2020,
the following shall be closed:
a. In-person instruction or classes at all schools, public and private, including but not
limited to: elementary, secondary, postsecondary, technical, or specialty schools, and
colleges and universities.
(i) This order is not intended to prevent any employers from making continued
necessary staffing decisions. Employers are authorized to advise employees to
work from home or maintain flexible work schedules. If working from home is
not feasible, the employee should practice social distancing, maintaining
consistent six-foot distance between persons, for the duration of this order and
follow public health guidelines.
(ii) This order shall not apply to daytime special activities programs provided by local
boards of education for children, ages 6 through 12 as of March 13, 2020, of first
responders (including EMS and fire services) and licensed health-care providers
and their essential employees; and essential employees of the following categories
of employers: state and local governments, law enforcement, hospitals, nursing
home/long-term care facilities, (including assisted living and specialty-care
assisted living facilities), end-stage renal disease treatment centers, pharmacies,
and grocery stores. In these special activities programs, 12 or more children shall
not be allowed in any one room at the same time, and operators of these programs
are encouraged to use enhanced sanitation practices consistent with guidance from
the CDC and the Alabama Department of Public Health.
b. Facilities providing child day care, including any child day care facility described in Ala.
Code § 38-7-2, at which 12 or more children are in a room or other enclosed space at the
same time. Center employees are encouraged to use enhanced sanitation and socialdistancing
practices consistent with guidance from the CDC and the Alabama
Department of Public Health. This Order does not change the Minimum Standards for
Day Care promulgated by the Alabama Department of Human Resources, except that 12
or more children shall not be allowed in a room or other enclosed space at the same time.
13. Hospitals and similar institutions. Effective March 20, 2020, all Hospitals and
Nursing Home/Long Term Care Facilities (including Assisted Living and Specialty Care
Assisted Living Facilities) shall prohibit visitation of all visitors, as defined by the facility, and
non-essential health care personnel, except for certain compassionate care situations such as
maternity, end-of-life, and support for persons with disabilities.
14. Medical procedures. Effective April 30, 2020, at 5:00 P.M., dental, medical, or
surgical procedures may proceed unless the State Health Officer or his designee determines that
performing such procedures, or any category of them (whether statewide or regionally), would
unacceptably reduce access to personal protective equipment or other resources necessary to
diagnose and treat COVID-19. Providers performing these procedures shall follow all applicable
COVID-19-related rules adopted by a state regulatory board or by the Alabama Department of
Public Health. In the absence of such rules, providers should take reasonable steps to comply
with applicable COVID-19-related guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services (CMS) and the CDC, including “Re-opening Facilities to Provide Non-emergent Non-
COVID-19 Healthcare: Phase I” from CMS, available at
and “Infection Control Guidance for Healthcare Professionals about Coronavirus (COVID-19)”
from the CDC, available at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infectioncontrol.
15. Restaurants and similar establishments. Effective May 11, 2020, all restaurants,
bars, breweries, or similar establishments shall operate as follows:
a. Such establishments may continue to offer food for take-out or delivery provided the
social distancing protocols, including maintaining a consistent six-foot distance between
persons, are followed.
b. Such establishments are strongly encouraged to offer online ordering and curbside pickup
c. Hospital food service areas are excluded from this order provided they have their own
social distancing plan.
d. Insofar as such establishments offer on-premises consumption of food or drink, they must
limit the party size at tables to no more than eight persons and maintain at least six feet of
separation between people seated at different tables, booths, chairs, or stools.
e. Each employee shall wear a mask or other facial covering that covers his or her nostrils
and mouth at all times while in regular interaction with patrons or guests.
f. Such establishments must disallow self-service by guests at drink stations, buffets, or
In addition to complying with the requirements of this paragraph, establishments subject
to this paragraph are strongly encouraged to read and implement the Alabama Department of
Public Health’s “Guidelines for Restaurants and Bars,” available at
16. Duration. This Order shall remain in full force and effect until 5:00 P.M. on May 22,
2020. Prior to 5:00 P.M. on May 22, 2020, a determination shall be made whether to extend this
Order—or, if circumstances permit, to relax this Order.
17. Preemption. To the extent this Order conflicts with any order previously issued by
the State Health Officer concerning COVID-19 mitigation measures, this Order supersedes and
preempts the conflicting provisions of the previously issued order effective on the dates specified
above. This Order also supersedes and preempts all orders previously issued by the Jefferson and
Mobile County Health Officers concerning COVID-19 mitigation measures, and this Order shall
remain in full force and effect until rescinded or modified by order of the State Health Officer or
its expiration. After the date this order is issued, the Jefferson and Mobile County Health
Officers are authorized, after approval by the State Health Officer, to implement more stringent
measures as local circumstances require.
This Order also supersedes and preempts any county and municipal orders or ordinances,
whenever adopted, that purport to impose less stringent COVID-19-related curfew or quarantine
Done on this 8th day of May, 2020.
Scott Harris, M.D., M.P.H.
State Health Officer
Peach Jam Jubilee - June 27, 2020