MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WDHN) — Gov. Kay Ivey plans to extend the state of emergency declared due to COVID-19 by 60 days, according to new supplemental orders.
The extension will begin May 13, two days before the Safer-at-Home order expires. However, these states of emergencies are separate from the health orders issued by State Health Officer Scott Harris.
Instead, one supplemental emergency proclamation will turn Alabama into a “safe harbor” for health care providers and other businesses to help reopen Alabama.
“I want to do everything within my authority to protect businesses as Alabama’s economy gets up and running again,” Ivey said. “As we resume operations, the very last thing a business owner needs to worry about is a frivolous lawsuit from responding to COVID-19.
Essentially, healthcare providers would be protected from lawsuits for actions they took or did not take in response to COVID-19. Businesses would also be protected from lawsuits concerning the distribution of tests or personal protection equipment to protect people from COVID-19.
“Let me be clear, this in no way shields them from serious misconduct,” Ivey said. “If someone knowingly abuses the public during a time of crisis, they should be held accountable and prosecuted as such.”
These protections are based on the Emergency Management Act, which protects people who are trying to follow state emergency orders in certain situations. I
“The Act also gives the governor power to take steps necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the public,” a press release states.
Another emergency proclamation will give probate judges the ability to reduce the number of poll workers and train them remotely
A provision in these orders gives electric coops an easier time in getting loans during the emergency.