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Huntsville residents share mixed opinions on Alabama's new coronavirus Safer Apart order

While some are relieved, others say it's too soon to lift coronavirus restrictions.

Posted: Apr 7, 2021 5:48 PM
Updated: Apr 7, 2021 6:44 PM

Gov. Kay Ivey is giving us the green light as we move into the next phase of reopening. On Wednesday morning, she announced we are leaving the Safer At Home order behind and issued a new Safer Apart order.

The new order essentially makes all those required precautions like capacity, social distancing and masking optional, leaving it up to you to keep yourself safe.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey; Credit: @GovernorKayIvey Twitter page

"I kind of feel like it should be extended a little longer, but at the same time, it's been over a year," said Brandon Flowers, who lives in Huntsville.

People in North Alabama are feeling mixed emotions over the Safer Apart order that asks people to take personal responsibility, but Ivey says it's time.

"We have certainly worked hard this past year and we're finally rounding the corner. While we haven't whipped this deadly disease just yet, it appears, thank the good Lord, we are in the home stretch," Ivey said.

However, some are already choosing to not wear their masks.

"I'm starting to see more people without a mask than with a mask," Flowers said. "Hopefully, you know, numbers don't spike back up."

Many say it's too soon to take away the state mask order.

"I think it's better to be safe than sorry, so I think we should get our numbers down a little lower," Nyo Troupe said.

At this time, it's still unclear how many people will choose to continue to wear a mask and take the proper precautions.

"I might believe in this and somebody else might believe in that, so I think it's a personal thing," Troupe said.

However, many say they're choosing to do the right thing.

"I'm going to still wear my mask when I'm out and about," Flowers said.

Ivey urges people to do the same.

"Please, please continue to use your common sense, and we'll soon see the end of COVID-19," she said. 

The only restrictions that will remain in place during the Safer Apart order involve limited visitation at nursing homes and hospitals. All other previous restrictions are now only recommended.

With the new Safer Apart order, businesses can choose to operate at full capacity with no social distancing or masking in place starting this weekend. Many say it's too soon for that to happen.

Brandon Flowers says he will avoid businesses operating at full capacity. However, he is a small business owner, so he understands why some owners may choose to make that decision.

"No, not right now," Flowers said. "I see both times, but me personally, if it's full capacity, I probably won't go in there—me or my family."

Several businesses are choosing to keep safety precautions in place.

"We're going to continue doing this until everything is safe," the manager of Melt, Jennifer Hurt, said.

She says they will continue to wear masks and social distance their tables. The city is also working with the businesses in the area to close parts of Holmes Avenue to put more tables on the road and maintain social distancing.

However in the end, it will be up to each person individually to choose what safety precautions they take and where they will and won't go.

"That's my personal choice. If I choose to, I can. If I choose not to, it's okay," Troupe said.

Ivey says she decided to lift the restrictions because of current coronavirus numbers in Alabama. She says they've seen a 92% drop in the 7-day-average number of cases since the beginning of the year and an 89% drop in hospitalizations. Both those numbers are the lowest they've been since last spring. State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris says it's also the first time since the pandemic began that the test positivity rate in Alabama is below 5%.

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