Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced Monday afternoon that her long-running COVID-19 health order would end at the end of the month.
In a statement, Ivey said her public health order would come to an end on May 31, while the state of emergency would end July 6.
“We have learned much since last year, and this is absolutely now a managed pandemic,” she said in the statement. “Our infection rates and hospitalizations are in better shape, and over 1.5 million Alabamians have had at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. I am pleased that we have shown the rest of the country that we are gritty and determined. We are signaling loud and clear that Alabama is open, and we are moving forward.”
The current “Safer Apart” order consists primarily of recommendations aligned with guidance from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, specific guidance applies to two groups: Senior citizen centers must continue to follow guidelines issued by the Alabama Department of Senior Services and hospitals and nursing homes must follow current guidance from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with respect to visitation. Barring a great spike in COVID-19 cases, these last remaining requirements should be lifted with the expiration of this order on May 31.
State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said as many as two-thirds of Alabamians age 65 and older have been vaccinated against COVID-19. Those 65 and older are the most susceptible to the virus that causes COVID-19.
“While some barriers such as transportation remain, more than 1,300 providers in the state are administering safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in communities throughout the state,” he said in the statement. “We are very appreciative of Governor Ivey and our excellent working relationship with the Alabama National Guard. The state is really fortunate to have these men and women to support us. Guard members have concluded six weeks of vaccination clinics in 24 rural and underserved counties, and now are planning smaller mobile sites in each public health district to offer vaccine to hard-to-reach populations.”
As of April 5, all Alabamians ages 16 and older have been eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Governor Ivey continues to encourage Alabamians to get the safe and effective vaccine.
“Look, I have been vaccinated,” Ivey said in a statement. “I believe in the science, believe that it works and have confidence in it. So, like I said, I have been fully vaccinated, and I will live like I have been fully vaccinated. Similar to when we ended the mask requirement, this final extension gives all Alabama health care providers, businesses and individuals adequate time to make preparations.”
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