Gov. Kay Ivey relaxed some of the restrictions placed on the state because of COVID-19 on Friday, but that announcement didn’t change any of the plans on Redstone Arsenal.
The amendments Ivey announced Friday are:
• Removed the 10-person limit for non-work gatherings, but people are still required to maintain 6 feet of distance between people not from the same household.
• Restaurants, bars and breweries may open with limited table seating, 6 feet between tables and they are subject to additional sanitation rules and guidelines.
• Athletic facilities, like commercial gyms and fitness centers, may open subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines. Also, previously specified athletic activities that require people to participate in close proximity are still not allowed.
• Close-contact service providers like barbershops, hair salons, nail salons and tattoo services may open subject to social-distancing and sanitation rules and guidelines
• The order also removed the limit on gatherings at Alabama’s beaches, but beachgoers must still maintain 6 feet of separation.
While the state made those changes, which went into effect Monday, the earliest the Arsenal will start to move back to pre-COVID-19 operations is May 15, but that date isn’t set in stone.
Instead, it is dependent upon how the situation changes now that the state has started to open back up.
“We’ve developed a set of metrics that allow us to observe the virus and the effect on the community and the chances that a Redstone Arsenal employee may come into contact with the virus and become infected,” Garrison Commander Col. Kelsey Smith said Thursday during a Facebook Live town hall.
It’s that information that will drive the decisions made by Arsenal leaders about when to bring workers back from telework and open up some of the other services that are currently closed.
According to Smith, after the governor removed the original stay-at-home order, Arsenal leaders observed an increase in the number of new cases in the Arsenal’s immediate vicinity.
“We continue to monitor the situation and make our plans for recovering the installation back to what we would consider normal operations,” Smith said. “I stress to you again, though, that while we are doing that, and making those plans, it is a phased approach.
“It is conditions-based, and it is based on the effect of the virus throughout our community in the 16 counties that most of you live in.”