Jefferson County health officer does not want to shut down businesses again

Dr. Wilson on shutdown

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Jefferson County’s top health officer said Monday the COVID situation in the county is almost as bad as during the surge of cases after the Fourth of July holiday.

Due to state law, Jefferson County Health Officer Dr. Mark Wilson has the authority to shut down businesses in Jefferson County if there is a serious health threat.

Wilson does not want to go that route again, though he admits the numbers are especially bad in Jefferson County right now.

“Our numbers have gone up dramatically. We in Jefferson County are seeing about 300 cases per day. We are currently as bad as we were back in July and getting worse,” said Dr. Wilson.

Wilson was among the first to put restrictions on businesses in the county at the beginning of the pandemic. On Monday, Dr. Wilson said he does not want to lock down those businesses again.

“We don’t want to do a lockdown. There is not a lot of political will in Alabama to do lockdowns. We don’t have support in Congress to give money to small business owners or employees who are furloughed,” Wilson said.

The head of the county health department made it clear he would go after businesses who are not doing their part to keep their customers or workers safe.

“There will be cases where we have to shut down a restaurant because they are not following the rules. We will do that on an individual basis if we need to,” Wilson said.

Wilson said if everyone just does their part with social distancing and wearing masks, they can keep these businesses open.

Wilson understands people are tired of the restrictions and mask mandates, but he said this is a critical time if people would just double down for the next few months or so with a vaccine in sight, we can get through this.

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