Jeffco Department of Health prohibits gatherings of 10 or more and close non-essential businesses

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COVID-19 sign in front of the Walmart Store in the Eastwood area. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

In an effort to combat the growing COVID-19 crisis, Jefferson County Health Officer Mark Wilson issued a new sweeping order that prohibits gatherings in Jefferson County of 10 or more people and the closing of non-essential businesses.

Below is the March 19th order that was posted on Facebook. Hit the link to download.

At a somber news conference, Wilson made the following remarks:

“Today, I’m taking another step to defend the lives of every person in Jefferson County. These public health orders are meant to save lives by limiting the spread of the virus.  But what I’m doing today is only part of the solution.  Today, as I stand before you, I ask you carefully consider whom you come in contact.  Think of your mother, your father, your grandmother, your grandfather, your aunt, your uncle, your daughter, your son and everyone else you meet each day.

People you meet each day, and come in contact with, will contact so many more people and in that chain of interactions, you will touch the life of someone who is more vulnerable to COVID-19.

Jefferson County, the state of Alabama and the United States as a whole has not been called to wrestle with a problem of this magnitude since World War II.  In that dangerous and uncertain time the greatest generation banded together to work toward a common goal.  And that is precisely what we must do now.”

Screenshot of the Jefferson County Department of Health news conference about the COVID-19 crisis on March 19, 2020. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Take-out and Deliveries Spared

For now, the order does not impact restaurants and retail operations that are serving their meals via take-out and delivery.

Read Bham Now’s story about places you can get take-out/delivery – HERE and HERE.

Also – please participate in the Bham Now’s survey (here is the FORM) of LOCAL businesses who have transformed their operations in the past week to keep the doors open.

Bham Now has also released survey asking for info about local non-profits in effort to promote their needs and future guides during the COVID-19 crisis. – Here is the -Non-Profit Form.

What Is Considered Non-Essential Services

The big question on everyone’s mind – What are considered non-essential services?

Here is the Non-Essential Services 3/19/2020 list in the order:

Entertainment, including night clubs, bowling alleys, arcades, racetracks, indoor children’s play places, pool halls, adult gaming and entertainment venues;

Recreation facilities, including gyms and fitness centers, swimming pools and spas, excluding licensed physical therapy services;

Nail salons and spas;

Casinos, concert venues and auditoriums, theaters, tourist attractions (including museums, planetariums, parades);

Body art facilities and tattoo services, tanning salons, massage parlors
waxing salons/threading salons;

Museums and galleries; performing arts centers/events/rehearsals;

Social clubs – Fraternity and Sorority meetings and events Proms, Formals and other similar events.

Mayor Randall Woodfin speaking at COVID – 19 news conference on March 13, 2020, announcing the creation of the Bham Strong Fund. Photo by Pat Byington for Bham Now

Stay tuned

Follow Bham Now during the COVID-19 crisis.  As Wilson said, we must band together now.

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Pat Byington
Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.
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