In an effort to help residents understand which businesses qualify as nonessential, the Jefferson County Health Department Friday decided to spell it out in pictures.
Thursday, Jefferson County Health officer Dr. Mark Wilson issued an order to close all nonessential businesses in the county in its ongoing attempts to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus. The order went into effect Friday, March 20 at 5:00 p.m.
However, many people still had questions about which businesses would be allowed to remain open. Friday, the health department added two infographics to its website, differentiating between essential and non essential businesses.
Concert venues, and gyms are on list of businesses that must close their doors.
Personal grooming services, including nail salons and threading services are on the list of non essentials. As of right now, barbershops and hair salons are not on that list. However, that mandate could change at any time says Chris Osborne, public relations manager for the Jefferson County Department of Public Health.
Osborne explained that explained that owners and patrons of those establishments must make the most responsible decisions for everyone’s safety based on social distancing.
“We cannot address every individual scenario, so we are relying on the Jefferson County community to use good judgment to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” Osborne said in an email to AL.com on Saturday.
The department currently defines the county’s essential businesses as ones that residents need every day, including grocery stores and restaurants says department public relations coordinator Wanda Heard.
“We need gas to put in our cars. Hospitals are not closing. So, things that we would need to live and function in a basic manner,” Heard explained to AL.com Friday morning. “Those are the things that are essential.”
Heard says the department noted the confusion after the Thursday announcement, so it decided to create a more comprehensive and specific list. However, she noted that the list is subject to change since prevention efforts are still fluid.
“It’s something new and everybody needs to get an understanding, so that’s our goal. To get everybody on the same page,” said Heard.
Thursday’s order was an amended version of one issued by the county health department earlier in the week, prohibiting dining on premises at restaurants and bars, visitors in hospitals and nursing homes. The order also prohibited gatherings of 25 or more, and those where people cannot keep a six-foot distance between attendees will also be banned.
Alabama’s state health officer Dr. Scott Harris later issued a similar order, also implementing a statewide ban on dining on premises and limiting the number of people at public gatherings. Friday, Harris updated the statewide emergency public health order to say the prohibition on gatherings of 25 or more people does not apply to workplaces.
Below the artwork is a copy of the Jefferson County order.
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