TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox has not been told whether state health restrictions in place to stop coronavirus from spreading will be extended.
Tuesday, he warned city leaders and business owners what they can expect from him through executive orders if they are not.
Mayor Maddox made his decision before the Alcohol Beverage Control Board’s Thursday meeting and before Governor Kay Ivey’s State Health order expires November 9th.
“I felt it was important, especially for our businesses, to let them know, with those orders in the state, in particular if they were to disappear, that we are going to implement on top of them our own regulations to prevent the spread of coronavirus,” the mayor said.
At Thursday’s meeting, the ABC Board could lift regulations requiring all on premise alcohol licensees to limit occupancy to half of the business’s allowed capacity. Maddox says he would apply this standard to bars with seating capacities above 100 people, but not below.
“What we’re trying to do is create a system where bars, in particular mega bars, are not able to pack in students, or younger people in this case.”
Maddox says there’s less spread between older people who may go to smaller bars in Tuscaloosa, than younger patrons at larger bars. He is also waiting to see if the governor will keep Alabama’s face covering ordinance in effect. The Mayor feels wearing face coverings is a major reason for fewer positive coronavirus cases.
“We know these measures can make a difference in slowing down the spread.. They’re not perfect, they’re not going to prevent every case. But in terms of helping keep that infection rate around 1 instead of climbing to 2 or 3. That’s important,” Maddox continued. The Mayor wants as few positive COVID-19 cases as possible until the University of Alabama goes on Thanksgiving Break. Students will not return to school until the start of the Spring semester in January. So fewer people in town will make it less likely for the illness to spread.