MARCH 27, 2020 VIRTUAL MAYOR’S TOWN HALL, ABBREVIATED

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Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox hosted his third Virtual Town Hall Friday afternoon. Here’s an abbreviated list of what happened.

What’s happening?

Tuscaloosa is under a 24-hour curfew beginning Sunday and lasting through April 11. The Alabama Department of Public Health has closed nonessential businesses beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday and lasting through April 17.

Question and answer session

  • Does the new executive order apply to the city and the county, or just the city?
    • The ADPH order applies statewide. The curfew is for the city of Tuscaloosa only.
      • The city curfew lasts through April 11; state order goes through April 17.
  • You previously stated that the city did not have the authority to shelter in place. What legally changed to make this possible?
    • The attorney general provided an opinion giving local municipalities more power, and Gov. Kay Ivey agreed to relax rules so cities have more authority.
  • What will be the determining factor in deciding whether or not we move to the red light and shut down the city?
    • The capacity of DCH Regional Medical Center
      • Some businesses considered essential now may not be considered essential in the future
  • How will this affect our local economy?
    • Short-term detrimental effects, but city must slow down rate of virus. City is choosing lives over livelihood.
      • City is losing $500,000 to $700,000 a week.
      • The goal is enduring short-term pain to reduce long-term effects.
  • Will there be any type of stimulus package(s) for the small/local businesses who will be suffering from this?
    • Yes. Also developing a forgivable loan program, working with Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama on helping businesses.
      • City cannot legally directly lend money to individuals or businesses.
  • Will road construction continue under this order?
    • City projects will absolutely continue. City has no authority over Alabama Department of Labor projects (Lurleen Wallace, I-20/59) so those are unknown.
  • What happens when a person is caught out during a lockdown or curfew?
    • Legally: It’s a municipal ordinance violation. You’d be given a warning to disperse, and a ticket to appear in court if you do not disperse. If you refuse a ticket, you could be arrested.
    • Practically: We’re not looking to “catch” anyone. City is hoping people comply, because Tuscaloosa Police have better things to do than break up gatherings of more than 10 people.
  • I am the plant manager for an automotive supplier here in the industrial park. We supply parts for tractor/trailer assembly plants which are under the DHS “essential” business category (this has been confirmed by attorneys). What evidence does an employee need to show if stopped within Tuscaloosa?
    • Consider carrying something that shows your employer, so if you are pulled over or stopped you can show the officer you’re part of an essential service.
      • Stops are at the officer’s discretion. Be prepared to talk with officers.
  • I’ve been seeing posts that people are having yard sales this weekend. Shouldn’t this be banned?
    • It’s technically legal, but please limit it to no more than 10 people at a time and maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet. Yard sales are not advised.
  • Will veterinary clinics be open?
    • Yes. So will pet supply stores.
  • Do you plan to discontinue trash pickup?
    • Trash pickup will not be affected. Timing might change, though.
  • Why are people that live in the city having to be shut in why people living in the county can run free?
    • No one is being shut in. We’re not at that step yet.
  • When do you think this will end?
    • Don’t have an official answer, but according to data we’re looking at a 90 to 120-day pandemic. Current curfew expires April 11, state order expires April 17. Those can both be extended if needed.
  • What businesses are exempt and non-exempt from the Alabama Department of Public Health order?
    • EXEMPT:
      • Attorneys
      • Architects and engineers
      • Automotive service and sales
      • Banks and other financial institutions
      • Body shops
      • Car washes
      • CPAs
      • Construction
      • Grocery stores
      • Home improvement stores
      • Home repair services (electricians, plumbers, HVAC)
      • Hotels/motels
      • Lawn maintenance
      • Leasing offices
      • Manufacturers
      • Medical facilities
      • Package stores (curbside)
      • Pawn shops
      • Payday lending
      • Pharmacies
      • Real estate (showings/closings)
      • Restaurants (curbside/drive-thru)
    • NOT EXEMPT:
      • Entertainment venues
        • Night clubs
        • Bowling alleys
        • Arcades
        • Concert venues
        • Theaters
        • Auditoriums
        • Performing arts centers and events
        • Tourist attractions (including museums, galleries and planetariums)
        • Historical Sites
        • Parades
        • Racetracks
        • Indoor children’s play areas
        • Adult entertainment venues
        • Adult gaming and entertainment venues
        • Casinos
        • Bingo halls
        • Pool halls
        • Venues operated by social clubs
        • Fraternities and sorority meetings and events
        • Proms, formals and other similar events
      • Athletic facilities and activities
        • Fitness centers and commercial gyms
        • Spas and public or commercial swimming pools
        • Yoga, Barre and spin facilities
        • Spectator sports
        • Sports that involve interaction with another person of closer than 6 feet
        • Activities that require the use of shared sporting apparatus and equipment
        • Activities on commercial or public playground equipment
      • Close-contact service providers
        • Barber shops
        • Salons (waxing, threading, hair, nail)
        • Spas
        • Body-art facilities and tattoo services
        • Massage-therapy establishments and massage services
      • Retail stores
        • Furniture and home-furnishings stores
        • Clothing, shoe and clothing accessory stores
        • Jewelry, luggage and leather goods stores
        • Department stores
        • Sporting goods stores
        • Hobby, book, craft and music stores
        • Florists

If you want to go walk on the River Walk you can. City wants people to get outside and exercise. Just maintain social distancing.

City recommends you do not take unnecessary trips. Do not go to friends’ houses. Stay at home as much as possible.

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