Alabama leaders deliberate next move

Published 8:22 pm Monday, May 4, 2020

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By PAUL DeMARCO | Guest Columnist

Note: This is an opinion column.

This past week Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order allowing the state businesses to phase in reopening and relaxing the restrictions on Lone State residents due to the pandemic. Other states around the nation at the urging of President Donald Trump are also making moves to reopen.

Alabama has been under a shelter in place order directed by Governor Kay Ivey now for two weeks with only essential businesses open and citizens asked to stay at home unless necessary. Schools have also been closed for the rest of the academic year.

So when will Alabama begin to transition back to some semblance of normal life?

Everyone agrees that it will not be like turning on a light switch or we risk another outbreak and another stay-at-home order. But what will that progression to normalcy look like?

There is a lot of discussions on what that will look like and how that will happen.

The State Health Officer will have strong input into that decision.  The availability and rate of testing along with the rate of new cases will be factors State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris will be looking at in his recommendations to the governor.

The current orders in Alabama are to stay in effect until April 30. We will see if the governor lifts the stay earlier or extends it into May.

No matter when the difficult decision to reopen occurs, Alabamians will be up to the task. From recovering from the hurricanes and tornadoes to the oil spill a decade ago, citizens and businesses of the state have proven to be resilient and will come back once again.

Our political leaders must lead by making difficult decisions to reopen when it is safe and proper to do so.

Alabamians will do the rest.

Paul DeMarco is a former member of the Alabama House of Representatives.