Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox announced Wednesday that a nightly curfew will go into effect in this Friday that forbids most travel and gatherings in the city from 10 p.m. each night until 5 a.m. each morning.

As of now, the curfew will only be in place for a week, from Friday, March 27th until Friday April 3rd. Maddox said the city will evaluate the effectiveness of this decision and decide later if the curfew should be expanded or extended.

During the curfew, all citizens are required to remain in their homes or current places of residence.

Maddox took the drastic step by issuance of an executive order, another part of the city's effort to combat the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 coronavirus.

Maddox pointed to neighboring Jefferson County, where there were almost 100 confirmed cases of the disease Wednesday morning and to Lee County, which is demographically similar to Tuscaloosa County, where there are 30 confirmed cases and more added each day.

The mayor said without any change in current dynamics, projections show that Tuscaloosa County's health systems could be completely overwhelmed by late April, and stressed that the more we stay home, the safer everyone in the area will be.

Maddox said there are many exceptions built into the executive order that allow essential personnel to work around the curfew. Those include the following:

  • Public safety or emergency service activities, including but not limited to law enforcement, fire and rescue services, and emergency management agencies.
  • First responders, crisis intervention workers, public health workers, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, law enforcement personnel, and related contractors.
  • Persons employed by or contracted to utilities, cable, and telecommunications companies and engaged in activities necessary to maintain or restore utility, cable, and telecommunications services.
  • Persons providing fire, police, sanitation, security, emergency and hospital services, food delivery services and other deliveries of merchandise or mail.
  • Persons seeking essential services or commodities; persons who are vulnerable to the most serious effects of the COVID-19 disease must remain at home, unless seeking medical treatment.
  • Persons supplying or restocking businesses in order to provide essential services or products, i.e. home improvement, groceries, fuel delivery locations, pharmacies or other retailers offering emergency supplies, transportation of fuels, movement of equipment and personnel for the provision of humanitarian support, and movement of equipment necessary for the protection of critical infrastructure or public safety.
  • Persons employed by the federal, state, county or city government or their agencies working within the course and scope of their public service employment.  Such employees shall follow any current or future directives regarding performance of their duties, including working from home, issued by their respective employers.
  • Persons experiencing homelessness within the City.

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin issued a shelter-in-place order for his city Tuesday, but state law prevents Maddox from doing the same in Tuscaloosa without direction to do so from Gov. Kay Ivey or the Alabama Department of Public Health.

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