Gov. Kay Ivey issued an amended Safer at Home Order that will extend until Oct. 2. The order, issued during a press conference held on Aug. 27, includes new restrictions for restaurants and will take effect on Aug. 31.
Restaurants and bars are encouraged to move all food service to delivery and curbside take out and will be required to implement new social distancing protocols for indoor food service. The order also encouraged restaurants to implement online ordering as well.
Workers at these restaurants and bars will be required to wear masks.
For restaurants that continue to offer dine-in services party sizes will be limited to eight people, and patrons must be able to maintain 6 feet of distance between parties.
Restaurants that offer a buffet or any self-serve component, a staff member from the restaurant will be required to monitor and enforce social distancing protocols are followed by patrons. They must also provide hand sanitizer to those utilizing self-serve options.
The order specified that these restrictions do not apply to hospital food service or to educational institutions that have alternative social distancing plans.
The order comes as the Ivey's previous Safer at Home order was set to expire on Sept. 2 and cases in Alabama continue to rise.
Many of Alabama’s universities returned to in-person instruction over the last week and saw drastic increases in case numbers.
The University of Alabama alone recorded over 560 new cases after students returned to campus on Aug. 18, leading Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox to close the states restaurants and bars ang Aug. 24.
A number of other colleges in the state also saw spikes in their case numbers after students returned to campus. At one university some students were forced to move dorms to allow for quarantine procedures.
Auburn University has already begun to investigate gatherings of students that have ignored social distancing restrictions set by the University. Fraternities and off-campus parties have proved exceptionally difficult for colleges to combat events that have increased cases.
University officials at several of Alabama’s undergraduate institutions issued strong statements, threatening students with harsh punishments if they violate social distancing and quarantine protocols put in place.
Many universities outside the state that chose to return to in-person classes have already sent students home. UNC-Chapel Hill and Notre Dame University have already moved classes online.
The new order will take effect on Monday Aug. 31 and is currently set to expire at 5 p.m. on Oct. 2.