Alabama lawmakers respond to new ‘safer-at-home’ order

Washington DC

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – As Alabama’s governor starts the process of reopening the state, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are applauding her cautious approach.

“She is resisting the pressure to call for a complete reopening,” Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) said Thursday.

Sen. Jones commended Gov. Kay Ivey for her safer-at-home order that went into effect Thursday night.

The order opens some retail stores but, unlike neighboring states, keeps fitness centers, hair salons and restaurants closed.

Republican Congresswoman Martha Roby said in a tweet that she was “grateful” for Ivey’s measured approach that “prioritizes the health and safety of all Alabamians.”

Ivey asked members of Congress for their input on how to reopen the state but not all suggestions were taken.

“My recommendation was that she would open up all of Alabama with the exception of bars,” Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL) said Thursday.

Byrne said it was a controversial decision to keep restaurants closed and he hopes Ivey will consider reopening in the next two weeks.

But Democrats are stressing caution.

“I think that it’s going to be really important in the days and weeks ahead that we continue to practice social distancing,” Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) said this week.

Rep. Sewell and Sen. Jones both said an increase in testing is needed for a complete reopening.

Jones is asking the White House for a national inventory of test supplies and a detailed plan for addressing shortages.

“Quite frankly, the answers that we’d been getting on those issues from the White House have not been good. They’ve been totally incomplete,” Jones said.

Ivey’s order is in effect through May 15.

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