Alabama loosens “stay at home” order restrictions for businesses

Coronavirus

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Alabama’s safer-at-home order is changing, allowing more businesses to reopen. Including, restaurants and bars, barbershops, and salons, as well as gyms. Also, no more 10-person limits on gatherings.

These changes take effect Monday and last through Friday, May 22nd.

Here’s what’s not changing, nightclubs, with a dance floor, and theaters still can’t reopen. Retail stores will stay at 50-percent capacity and hospitals and nursing homes still must restrict visitors.

The governor’s changes to the “safer at home” order surprised many business owners. In fact, some restaurant owners tell me they don’t have the means to open by Monday. But the owner of SOCU Southern Kitchen and Oyster Bar tells News 5’s Amber Grigley the pandemic forced her to be creative with her business, and for now, that’s what she’s sticking to.

“I’m one of the business owners that did not close. So I said, ‘you know I need to change the way that I do business,” said Erica Barrett, Owner of SOCU Southern Kitchen and Oyster Bar.

A change that Barrett never saw coming when she opened for business in October 2019. Especially now that the pandemic is forcing most restaurants typically offering dine-in to be take-out and or curbside only.

“What we’ve done every day, we’ve run a limited menu. It’s something new. Our customers don’t know what we’re serving each morning. We upload it to our Facebook, our Instagram. It’s usually compiled of three to four menu items,” said Barrett.

The mystery of what she will provide for the day has kept her phones ringing and long lines outside of her doors.

Friday, Governor Kay Ivey loosened restrictions on businesses in an amended “safer at home” order.
Allowing restaurants, nail salons, hair salons, and other businesses to open with less than 50% occupancy. Now six days prior to the originally set date of May 15th.

“I was really shocked from the announcement that restaurants would be open at 50% capacity on Monday. I just really hope that other restaurants are going to be practicing food safety as well,” said Barrett.

As refreshing as that may sound for businesses, Barrett said she doesn’t think that’s a safe plan for her. And as a restaurant owner it’s her job to make sure she provides a clean and safe environment for her customers.

“I don’t feel comfortable at this point without enough knowledge to really have 70-80 people in here at one time. Are they wearing masks? What does that do for my team? Do we check temperatures? Is that even a comfortable eating situation to wear a mask and try to eat?” said Barrett.

Barrett said COVID-19 has definitely changed the food model and more people will probably prefer take out versus dine-in moving forward. As for her restaurant, SOCU Southern Kitchen and Oyster Bar, she tells us this will be her new norm until further notice.

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