1. Storms strike the South
- Strong storms pounded the Deep South on Sunday, killing at least 18 people and damaging hundreds of homes from northern Louisiana to east Tennessee. Storms continued to batter the South overnight, with much of the region under flash flood, tornado and thunderstorm warnings and watches.
- In Alabama, the hardest hit areas appear to be Carbon Hill in Walker County, Boaz in Marshall County, and rural parts of Morgan County.
- There have been no confirmed deaths in Alabama as of Monday morning.
- The National Weather Service said strong winds were sweeping through other parts of Mississippi, and a tornado was spotted north of Meridian near the Alabama state line.
- Gov. Kay Ivey issued an emergency order Sunday temporarily suspending state restrictions imposed because of the new coronavirus if those restrictions could interfere with people’s safety while strong storms were blowing through the South.
- She said shelters and community safe rooms should remain open and maintain “reasonable practices and procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
- “My fellow Alabamians, stay vigilant, and stay safe,” Ivey said.
- Read more HERE.
2. When to reopen?
- While state leaders are making plans for re-opening businesses shuttered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some would like to see at least a few restrictions eased prior to the planned April 30 timeline.
- Public health orders in March and April told Alabamians to stay home unless for specific reasons, closed many businesses and put occupancy limits on others, including retailers. While grocery stores can remain open, some smaller retailers had to close.
- Some advocates call that not just unfair, but unsafe.
- “The Alabama Retail Association and many of its members don’t understand a public policy that sends the same number of consumers to a smaller group of retailers creating denser crowds,” association President Rick Brown told Alabama Daily News. “This policy seems at odds with the Alabama Department of Public Health’s stated objective to avoid large gatherings. “
- The Retail Association is suggesting opening smaller retailers at the same 50% occupancy and social distancing guidelines that larger stores have.
- Lawmakers are getting into the mix as well, as many of their small business-owning constituents become anxious.
- Sen. Arthur Orr wrote Gov. Kay Ivey a letter last week asking for an update on the outbreak projections and whether a downgrade of the severity might allow an easing of restrictions before April 30.
- A subcommittee formed by Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth isn’t looking to get ahead of the April 30 timeline, but rather wants to have plans in place to make “flipping the switch” from off to on as seamless as possible for state businesses.
- Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.
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3. ‘Absolute chaos’ as businesses try to tap into rescue funds
- Desperate small business owners who hoped for a quick government lifeline to help them survive the coronavirus crisis are still without funds, instead battling red tape, wary banks and swamped computer systems.
- Thousands of owners who applied for loans under the government’s Paycheck Protection Program are in their second week of waiting for their money.
- And thousands who sought relief through Small Business Administration economic injury disaster loans have waited even longer — some since mid-March.
- A few have gotten money. But a panoply of issues at the SBA and banks have far more wondering if they’ll be able to stay in business — they’ve been forced to close their doors due to social-distancing regulations or because customers have cut back their spending.
- Those in limbo include owners hoping to avoid layoffs.
- Full story HERE.
4. Fauci: ‘rolling reentry’ of economy possible in May
- The United States’ top infectious disease expert said Sunday that the economy in parts of the country could have a “rolling reentry” as early as next month, provided health authorities can quickly identify and isolate people who will inevitably be infected with the coronavirus.
- Dr. Anthony Fauci also said he “can’t guarantee” that it will be safe for Americans to vote in person on Election Day, Nov. 3.
- Rather than flipping a switch to reopen the entire country, Fauci said a gradual process will be required based on the status of the pandemic in various parts of the U.S. and the availability of rapid, widespread testing. Once the number of people who are seriously ill sharply declines, officials can begin to “think about a gradual reentry of some sort of normality, some rolling reentry,” Fauci said.
- In some places, he said, that might occur as soon as May. “We are hoping that, at the end of the month, we could look around and say, OK, is there any element here that we can safely and cautiously start pulling back on? If so, do it. If not, then just continue to hunker down,” Fauci said.
- Whenever restrictions ease, Fauci said, “we know that there will be people who will be getting infected. I mean, that is just reality.”
- Social distancing guidelines imposed by President Donald Trump are set to expire April 30.
- Trump is eager to restart the economy, which has stalled because most Americans are under orders to “stay at home” to help slow the virus’ spread.
- Full story HERE.
5. Judge: Alabama can’t prohibit abortion during pandemic
- A federal judge on Sunday ruled that Alabama cannot ban abortions as part of the state’s response to coronavirus.
- U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson issued a preliminary injunction sought by clinics to prevent the state from forbidding abortions as part of a ban on elective medical procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thompson said abortion providers can decide whether a procedure can wait.
- “Based on the current record, the defendants’ efforts to combat COVID-19 do not outweigh the lasting harm imposed by the denial of an individual’s right to terminate her pregnancy, by an undue burden or increase in risk on patients imposed by a delayed procedure, or by the cloud of unwarranted prosecution against providers,” Thompson wrote in an opinion.
- The ruling was a victory for abortion rights advocates who are fighting efforts in Texas, Ohio, Alabama and other states to prohibit abortion services during the COVID-19 pandemic. States have argued they need to conserve medical equipment and potential hospital beds during the pandemic.
- Full story from Kim Chandler HERE.
A message from
The Alabama State Port Authority
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Easter storms sweep South, killing at least 18 people
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – As COVID-19 projections decline, some ask for easing of restrictions
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Absolute chaos’ as businesses try to tap into rescue funds
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Fauci says ‘rolling reentry’ of US economy possible in May
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Judge: Alabama can’t prohibit abortion during pandemic
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – More than 450 Alabama health care workers have been infected
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Former Alabama speaker’s ethics case partly overturned
ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Weekend Digest, April 12, 2020
AL.COM – Health vs. economy: How, and when, does Alabama reopen?
AL.COM – Easter Sunday storm damage in Alabama: Latest photos, video
AL.COM – Black Belt shrinking faster than anywhere else in Alabama, latest Census reports
AL.COM – Construction still going in pandemic as Alabama workers balance safety and jobs
AL.COM – Contributors Pardis and Frank Stitt: What’s it like to be a chef and restaurateur with no restaurant?
AL.COM – Columnist John Archibald: History repeats: ‘Our little city was terribly scourged’
AL.COM – Is vaping essential? Why smoke shops are open during the shutdown
Montgomery Advertiser – Storms leave 2,400 in Montgomery County without power by 10 p.m.
Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery opens 4 storm shelters as Tornado Watch announced
Montgomery Advertiser – At least 7 dead in Mississippi as Easter Sunday tornadoes hit the South; more storms forecast for Monday in the East
YellowHammer News – State Health Officer Dr. Harris: Alabama coronavirus peak April 20-22 — Won’t know how effective distancing guidelines are until then
YellowHammer News – State Senate Minority Ldr Singleton’s plea to Ivey for Medicaid expansion: ‘It could be KayCare’
YellowHammer News – University of Alabama’s ACCESS Support Center offers free online courses to grades 7-12
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ‘It was 30 seconds and done’: Storm knocks trees down, home damaged on Walker-Jefferson County line
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Mobile homes in Carbon Hill heavily damaged in Easter storms
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Sessions targets China, calls for ‘reset’ in relationship
WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Alabama unemployment claims reach historic levels
WAFF Huntsville – Easter storms leave significant damage in Boaz
WAFF Huntsville – PPE, medical furloughs, infection peak among topics at Madison County COVID-19 update
WAFF Huntsville – Huntsville church hosts Easter basket drive through giveaway
Tuscaloosa News – Telemedicine helps in fight against stress
Tuscaloosa News – Resumption of parole hearings being considered
Tuscaloosa News – Judge: Alabama can’t prohibit abortion during pandemic
Decatur Daily – Local churches celebrate Easter despite restrictions
Decatur Daily – Firefighters respond to Shoal Creek Baptist Church fire
Decatur Daily – Former Decatur doctor leads state’s fight against COVID-19
Times Daily – UNA Homecoming set for Oct. 29-31
Times Daily – Resumption of parole hearings being considered
Times Daily – $5 million in federal funds reserved for UNA
Anniston Star – Severe thunderstorm warning for Calhoun, Cleburne, Talladega Counties
Anniston Star – Gun sales surged as COVID-19 spread, but have cooled with stay-at-home orders
Anniston Star – Many struggle with mental illness amid isolation, stigma, shortage of help
Dothan Eagle – ‘Seeking joy’: Dothan family is reveling in time spent isolating together
Dothan Eagle – Restaurants continue to face tough decisions as pandemic stretches on
Dothan Eagle – COVID-19 alters Easter this year in the Wiregrass
Gadsden Times – Etowah County has 6th COVID-19 death; 1 under investigation
Gadsden Times – Ivey’s emergency declaration suspends part of COVID-19 orders
Gadsden Times – RBC City Hall will open as shelter
Troy Messenger – Severe storms likely today
Troy Messenger – 3D printers create masks, PPE locally
Andalusia Star News – LBWCC announces graduation will only be postponed, not canceled
Andalusia Star News – Star-News changes print frequency to Wednesday, Saturday
Andalusia Star News – Remember When times were gentler
Opelika-Auburn News – COVID-19 latest: Chambers County hits 200 confirmed cases; local death toll, cases rise; Ivey issues statement about severe weather
Opelika-Auburn News – Opelika counselor advises minding your mental health during the pandemic
Opelika-Auburn News – UPDATE: Power outages reported; Lee, Russell counties under severe thunderstorm warning; Lee County, surrounding counties under tornado watch
Daily Mountain Eagle – Ennis provides Bevill State virtual learning update
Daily Mountain Eagle – IRS deposits first economic support payments
Daily Mountain Eagle – Area pastors share Easter message
Trussville Tribune – Center Point Area Chamber of Commerce shares resources with small businesses
Trussville Tribune – ‘We’re all in with our patients’: An ER doctor’s virus fight
Trussville Tribune – St. Clair County Schools suspending meal program
Athens News Courier – GOOD EGGS: Family sets up drive-thru Easter egg hunt
Athens News Courier – Nursing home deaths soar past 2,700 in alarming surge
Athens News Courier – AlabamaWorks releases business survey to identify COVID-19 impact across state
Sand Mountain Reporter – Churches adapting ahead of Easter Sunday
Sand Mountain Reporter – Coroner explains second COVID-19 death reported in Marshall County
Sand Mountain Reporter – ADPH unveils COVID-19 demographics
WSFA Montgomery – Mother and daughter killed after being hit by a train in Heflin
WSFA Montgomery – 3 more residents, 8 staff members test positive for COVID-19 at Montgomery nursing home
WSFA Montgomery – 61 confirmed deaths, over 3,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alabama
WKRG Mobile – 6 killed in Mississippi as a result of severe weather; Lawrence County deputy, wife among those killed
WKRG Mobile – Judge: Alabama can’t prohibit abortion during pandemic
WKRG Mobile – Shooting investigation underway in Clarke County
WTVY Dothan – Former Senate staffer accuses Joe Biden of sexual assault
WTVY Dothan – Millions of tax paying immigrants won’t get stimulus checks
WTVY Dothan – LSU doctors use a non-invasive ventilation method to help COVID-19 patients breathe
WASHINGTON POST – Spikes in demand from coronavirus patients are creating shortages of asthma drugs and sedatives for ventilator patients
WASHINGTON POST – Reopening U.S. economy by May 1 may be unrealistic, say experts, including some within Trump administration
WASHINGTON POST – GOP pushes voting by mail — with restrictions — while Trump attacks it as ‘corrupt’
NEW YORK TIMES – Oil Nations, Prodded by Trump, Reach Deal to Slash Production
NEW YORK TIMES – Trump and Allies Push Toward Reopening Economy. But Governors Urge Caution
NEW YORK TIMES – Black-Owned Businesses Could Face Hurdles in Federal Aid Program