BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) UPDATE 5:20 PM – The Birmingham City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that orders all residents in Birmingham to shelter in place.
As of March 24, 2020, Alabama has 242 identified cases of coronavirus, including 91 in Jefferson County. Because of the clear and present danger this virus presents to the community, “all persons shall remain in their places of residence and shall not be or remain in public places,” the ordinance reads.
The order does not apply to first responders, utilities contractors/employees, people seeking essential services such as groceries or medicine, federal, state, county or city employees. According to the ordinance, all nonessential businesses must comply with the new restrictions. However, it will not affect anyone’s ability to report to work at businesses that are permitted to remain open, utilize curbside pickup for restaurants, grocery stores, or go to medical appointments. The ordinance does not add any businesses to the list of nonessential lists of businesses that have been ordered to close by the Jefferson County Department of Health.
There are also provisions within the public safety ordinance that allow for some exceptions. People may lawfully leave their homes while this ordinance is in effect to engage in the following activities: outdoor activities that do not involve physical contact with others (walking, biking, hiking), care for a family member or pets, providing goods and services or work necessary to build, operate, maintain or manufacture essential infrastructure.
Failure to comply with this ordinance is punishable by the general penalty provided in Sec. 1-1-6 of the General Code of the City of Birmingham.
Councilor Hunter Williams, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, said it is important for residents to shelter in place and limit social interactions. “We are in the middle of a global health crisis,” Williams said. “This was not an easy decision because we understand it will have an impact on our local economy. A lot of thought and consideration went into this decision by city leaders and health officials. We believe that these measures will help flatten the curve and avoid a situation where our hospitals are overburdened with patients who need treatment.”
This decision is the result of an ongoing partnership between the Mayor’s administration, public health officials and the City Council.
The shelter-in-place order shall remain in effect until 12:00 p.m. on April 3, unless it is “determined that the emergency conditions no longer exist prior to that date but may be extended if the duration of the emergency conditions continues beyond that date,” according to the ordinance.
City leaders say there is a 24 hour grace period so that everyone can adjust.
UPDATE 4:00 P.M. Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin presents his ‘shelter in place’ proposal to the Birmingham City Council in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As Mayor Woodfin presents his case, he says that public safety is in a health crisis right now. He also emphasized the importance of everyone reading the entire order in order to really understand what all is involved.
Woodfin says that businesses that are not on the list in the order can continue as usual. He says that with this shelter in place order, this will also help with the social distancing that health officials are advising everyone to continue to adhere to.
According to an update from the Alabama Department of Public Health, there are now 242 confirmed cases in the state. 91 of those cases are in Jefferson County.
10:00 A.M. – The Alabama Department of Public Health says the state now has 215 confirmed coronavirus cases. The cases are from 25 of the 67 counties in the state. 90 of those cases are in Jefferson County, 24 in Shelby County and 21 in both Lee and Madison counties.
Health officials say about 2,321 people have been tested through ADPH.
Over the past couple of weeks, the COVID-19 outbreak has caused many parts of Alabama’s economy to close partially or totally. Public schools are out through at least April 6.
As health officials and city leaders continue to urge everyone to wash their hands and practice social distancing, the cases in the state continue to increase.
In an effort to prevent the continued spread of COVID-19, Tuesday morning during a Birmingham City Council meeting, Mayor Randall Woodfin, requested a ‘shelter in place’ ordinance for Birmingham.
After Mayor Woodfin presented the proposal, City Council took a recess until Tuesday afternoon. The City Council is expected to vote on the ‘shelter in place’ order Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Mayor Woodfin says that the Birmingham Police Department is prepared to take on the shelter in place that has been proposed starting Tuesday night at midnight through April 3.
The city council finds that it is in the best interest of the public peace, health, and safety to impose a public safety curfew to further the purposes of the measures that have been ordered to control community spread of COVID-19 in Birmingham.
The “Shelter in Place” would be the furthest measure that the city of Birmingham has taken during the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Shelter in Place” would go into effect on March 24 after a ‘yes’ vote and stay in effect until 12 a.m., April 3, 2020, unless it’s determined that the emergency conditions no longer exist or need to be extended beyond the date.
Under a curfew as part of the potential “Shelter in Place”, all people in the city of Birmingham should remain in their homes and should not travel to public places. All travel, including on foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, vehicle, or public transit is prohibited under the “Shelter in Place” order.
Public safety workers, emergency services, first responders, crisis intervention workers, public healthier employees, emergency hospital service workers, food delivery services, delivery service employees, employees who stock businesses to provide essential products such as groceries, fuel, and pharmacies, and state and federal workers are excluded from the “Shelter in Place” order to make sure employees are able to provide for the city of Birmingham.
All businesses within the city of Birmingham should also comply with the order of the Jefferson County Chief Health Officer in accordance with the closings of nonessential businesses.
There is is a 24-hour grace period following the effective date to allow employees and business owners to access their workplaces to gather necessary belongings.
To read the entire ‘Shelter in place’ ordinance visit.
Also during the press conference, UAB Health officials say that they have seen a dangerous increase in the COVID-19 cases. UAB says that they currently have 45 patients being treated. They also say that there are 81 tests, where they are waiting for results.
For more information regarding COVID-19, visit UAB
For more information regarding the Jefferson County Department of Public visit.