Businesses could face fines or jail for defying public health emergency orders

Coronavirus

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) –The Mobile County Sheriff’s Office says deputies have had to go to some businesses deemed non-essential in the county that were defying the Governor’s order to close to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Some of those were identified as bars.

But many other businesses that were ordered to close seem to have done so. The order from Governor Kay Ivey was intended to keep more people from being out and about and hopefully, staying at home.

But what happens to a business owner that decides to defy the order?

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall’s office clarified that situation in an opinion on his website. Marshall says violating the order would be considered a misdemeanor and the business could be fined up to $500.

On Thursday, Mobile Public Safety Director James Barber further clarified the law.

“Let’s say if we’ve got a business owner that is defiant…in other words would not voluntarily comply with the governor’s state of emergency orders or rules, as I’ve told you the rules now become law and it’s a violation, it’s a misdemeanor violation and they could end up in custodial arrest or it could end up in a summons to court,” said Barber.

Attorney General Marshall also advised anyone who has a complaint about a business not complying with the law should report it to local law enforcement or the District Attorney’s office.

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