On Friday, Governor Kay Ivey delivered an update to her State of Emergency declaration for the state of Alabama. Beginning at 5:00 on Saturday, all non-essential businesses in Alabama must close during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Non-essential businesses include entertainment venues, athletic facilities and activities, non-essential “close-contact” service establishments, and non-essential retail stores.
However, two Republican lawmakers voiced their opposition to closing all non-essential businesses on their respective social media platforms.
In a post on his personal Facebook page, State Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville) wrote, “I support the Governor’s efforts to make Alabama safer, but the government should not pick winners and losers. This recent order, in my opinion, is unfair to small business owners.”
State Sen. Tom Whatley (R-Auburn), who is the chairman of the Alabama Senate Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry Committee tweeted, “While I know our state officials are doing their best to combat #covid19 #economic & #medical concerns need to be at the table when decisions are made & applied fairly. Let’s not let the cure be worse than the virus. #alpolitics #algop”
Whatley made comments to Yellowhammer News as well stating, “Rural Alabama cannot go shop in the same way folks in big cities can.”
“Walmart and Target they can stay open but local stores that sell a lot of the same items have to close even if they don’t have coronavirus cases in their area. This is incredibly harmful to the independent business owner who supports local charities, goes to church with you and has a stake in your community.”
“Health and economic concerns need to be considered side-by-side in this process,” he explained.
“My primary concern is for rural Alabama and the state, so any order that is issued I would want it fairly and equally administered. Right now, orders are being fit for the big metropolitan areas. They are keeping the big, high-traffic places open that need to be closed and at the same time hurting rural Alabama where there are fewer cases and smaller stores.”
Dakota Layton graduated from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. He is currently enrolled at the University of Mississippi where he is working to earn his Master of Arts in Philosophy.