Tuscaloosa’s 24-hour curfew is now in effect through April 11, but what does that mean for residents?

In short: No, you’re not gonna get arrested if you leave the house. Yes, there’s a small chance you’ll be stopped and asked where you’re going, but “to work” or “to the grocery store” or “to my mom’s house” or “to buy 12 dozen doughnuts” or “I don’t live here I’m driving home to Arkansas” are all perfectly acceptable answers.

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Just use common sense, said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox.

“If you’re going to a job be certain you have an ID, Maddox said. “If you do think there is some ambiguity regarding that I would encourage you to get some sort of letter of documentation from your employer, but I would also ask everyone to take a deep breath.”

So far, there have been zero issues, Maddox said.

But what about the National Guard stationed at the bridge between Tuscaloosa and Northport on Sunday?

That wasn’t the National Guard. It was a Tuscaloosa Police information checkpoint letting residents know about the curfew and answering any questions. There will be more of those, but the police aren’t on high alert forcing people to turn around and head back the way they came because their excuse for being out isn’t good enough.

“(The police) don’t want to take anyone. They don’t want to detain anyone,” Maddox said. “That doesn’t do any good.”

What does do good, though, is staying at home. Because if people don’t stay home and COVID-19 continues spreading in Tuscaloosa Maddox said he has no qualms about tightening the reins.

“If we have to do it then we’ll do it,” Maddox said. At the end of the day, he said he wants his family and Tuscaloosa’s residents safe and healthy.

Look at Birmingham. Look at Lee County, Maddox said. Avoiding a huge uptick in cases requires residents staying home unless they need to leave the house.

It’s important to follow the Alabama Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. Avoid being around lots of people. Stay 6 feet apart when you’re in contact with other people.

Keep connected with friends and family with phone calls and video chats instead of hoofing it to someone else’s house. Buy enough groceries for a week or two at a time. Don’t run to the store for that one ingredient you forgot. If you can afford the fees, think about getting groceries delivered.

Wash your hands.

“Let’s make certain that at the end of the day we do everything to flatten that curve,” Maddox said. “If we don’t, informational checkpoints will be the least of our concerns.”

Categories: COVID-19, Local News