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Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox hosted a Virtual Town Hall meeting at 11 a.m. this morning, addressing the state’s plan for loosening stay-at-home restrictions beginning April 30.

Here’s a rundown of what happened during the Virtual Town Hall.

Reopening plan

  • Is being based on advice from medical professionals, and is dependent on the health of Tuscaloosa’s health care system.
  • Threat hasn’t passed, but we can reopen businesses with a medically sound approach.
  • Tuscaloosa can’t be less restrictive than the state, but it can be more restrictive if required.
  • Opening happens in phases:
    • Phase 1: Businesses currently operating may continue. Plus, general retail and commercial services may operate at no more than 50% capacity, appointment-based and masks encouraged.
    • Phase 2: Businesses from Phase 1 may continue operating. Restaurants may open dining rooms at 50% capacity, bars may operate table service, and close personal services (hair salons, etc.) may operate by appointment only.
    • Phase 3: Businesses from Phases 1 and 2 may continue operating. All businesses may operate at 50% capacity.
  • City-hosted events and public gatherings on city property will be phased in after the completion and evaluation of other phases.
  • Phases are subject to change.

Medical requirements for reopening

  • Reopen phases will only be implemented as medical evidence demonstrates that it’s safe to do so. Decisions will be made based on criteria including:
    • Number of local inpatients with COVID-19
    • Daily new COVID-19 hospitalizations
    • ICU bed, ventilator and PPE availability.
    • Availability of COVID-19 tests
  • If evidence suggests city needs to go back to stricter measures, they will do so.

What’s regulated by the state

  • These institutions shall continue following and complying with Alabama Department of Public Health orders
    • Religious entities
    • Health care providers
    • Caregivers
    • Education providers


  • Can Tuscaloosa mandate face masks in public?
    • Yes, but it’s not something city is considering
      • Private businesses can certainly mandate face masks inside their premises
  • Why can’t nonprofits get small business relief funds?
    • Small business relief fund is set up for small businesses. City is requesting funding for agencies assisting in COVID-19 efforts
  • Why only $1 million for businesses and $4 million for Tuscaloosa Police Department and Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue?
    • Equipment is expensive
    • $3 million is going toward experience economy, which will also ensure businesses make money
    • Money has not yet been approved. Requires four votes from city council.
  • Timeline for phases: Were the governor’s orders in effect through May 15?
    • Yes
  • Where can small businesses apply for the fund?
  • When will our libraries open?
    • That’s up to the library board
  • Are we putting any regulations on plants to keep employees safe?
    • City doesn’t have authority over plants
      • Plants often fall under state or federal orders
    • If you’re having issues, contact your HR department or OSHA
  • Can we run a sewer line north and charge a tap-on fee?
    • There are discussions on running a sewer line in North Tuscaloosa, as well as one on Buttermilk Road.





Categories: COVID-19, Local News