People who knowingly and willing violate the Alabama Department of Public Health’s orders during the coronavirus pandemic could face misdemeanor charges and fines under state law.
Attorney General Steve Marshall on Saturday sent a memo to all law enforcement in Alabama informing them of how they can legally enforce the health order.
“While the unprecedented nature of this pandemic and the government’s evolving response seem to demand some restraint related to criminal enforcement of this order, if a violator has been made aware of the health order and the refusal to comply presents a threat to public health and safety, the penalties of Section 22-2-14 are available as an enforcement tool,” Marshall wrote in the memo.
Alabama law says “any person who knowingly violates or fails or refuses to obey or comply with any rule or regulation adopted and promulgated by the State Board of Health of this state shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, shall be fined not less than $25 or more than $500.” The law also says if a person continues to violate or not comply with the order, they can be charged with an additional offense daily.
On Thursday, State Health Officer Scott Harris, ordered the following:
- Prohibited gatherings of 25 or more where people cannot stay 6-feet away from each other.
- closed all beaches, senior citizen centers, colleges and universities. I
- childcare centers except those providing care for the children of essential workers
- prohibited visitation at hospitals and senior living centers.
- Prohibited on-premise dining and consumption at all restaurants and breweries. Only take-out or curbside pickup is permitted.
- Elective dental procedures postponed
Jefferson County issued a stricter order and ordered all nonessential businesses closed.
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