TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - University of Alabama president Stuart Bell and Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and other school and city leaders spoke Monday about the COVID-19 response, the students’ return to campus and new executive orders for bars and restaurants.
Dr. Bell said the rise in COVID-19 cases in the community is unacceptable and action must be taken now to stop the spread of the virus and make sure fall is successful on campus.
Dr. Ricky Friend, dean of the UA College of Community Health Sciences said many students, particularly in the Greek system, have been exposed to COVID-19. Friend said he and others have made recommendation to help get COVID-19 cases back to safe levels.
Some changes have already been made including prohibiting public events on- and off-campus.
Friend and others asked Mayor Maddox to pass more stringent executive orders to help stop the transmission of the virus. Friend said it’s important to curb the number of student cases now to succeed in the fall semester and to protect the community.
Mayor Maddox said he knows the coronavirus has taken so much, but we must finish the job. Maddox said, “The truth is fall in Tuscaloosa is in serious jeopardy.”
Maddox said based on recommendations he signed new executive orders that close bars for 14 days starting at 5 p.m. Monday. The second order eliminates bar services at restaurants for the next 14 days starting Monday at 5 p.m.
Maddox called on the alcohol board to extend the order to all of Tuscaloosa County, not just the city of Tuscaloosa.
Maddox said if we fail to act DCH will be stretched beyond its means in the next 4-6 weeks and UA will have to move to online classes.
Governor Kay Ivey released a statement on the action:
“As our students adjust to being back on campus, Tuscaloosa leaders and university officials are focused on helping to ensure their health and safety. They have made tough decisions, and I appreciate Mayor Walt Maddox and The University of Alabama leadership for tackling a serious problem as quickly as possible. If we do not act expeditiously, it leaves the potential for a situation to get out of hand, which would require even tougher, longer-lasting decisions to be enacted.
“My hope is that this will be just a brief pause on their plans to reopen and that we can get this in our rearview mirror sooner, rather than later. Clearly, it takes everyone working together to keep Alabama moving in the right direction.”
This is the executive order: