Daily News Digest – March 17, 2020

Daily News Digest – March 17, 2020
Good morning and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Have fun celebrating at home with 10 or fewer fellow revelers!
Here’s your Daily News for Tuesday, March 17.

 

 

1. As cases increase, so do restrictions

DCH Regional Medical Center opened a drive through testing facility for the Covid-19 virus Monday, March 16, 2020, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Tuscaloosa had three confirmed cases of Covid-19 as of Monday evening. A person who has given a saliva sample drops the cup containing his saliva into a bag which the nurse will seal up and forward for testing. (Gary Cosby Jr./The Tuscaloosa News via AP)
  • Bidding to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, public health officials in Alabama’s largest county ordered restaurants to switch to take-out service only and ordered child care centers closed and nursing home visits restricted.
  • Jefferson County Health Officer Mark Wilson announced the orders at a news conference Monday. Seventeen of the 29 confirmed virus cases in Alabama have been detected in Jefferson County.
  • Wilson said the orders are for: child care centers, preschools and private school centers with 12 or more students to close from Thursday until April 6; restaurants beginning Tuesday should not have on-site dining for one week but delivery and take-out can continue; the closure of senior citizen center activities; and for nursing homes to restrict visitation except for compassionate situations such as end of life. The order also prohibits public gatherings with more than 25 people.
  • Read more from Kim Chandler HERE.
  • Meanwhile, state health and emergency officials are urging the public to take the coronavirus seriously.
  • State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris and EMA Director Brian Hastings called on the public to heed warnings and “respect this disease.”
  • Hastings specifically called out younger Alabamians, who are not as susceptible to death, but could spread an infection to more vulnerable people.
  • Read more on the state’s response from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.
  • And read more on how exactly the virus spreads and infects HERE.

 

 

2. Trump changes tone

  • Racing to stall an expected surge of coronavirus cases, the White House on Monday released a series of sweeping guidelines that for the next 15 days will temporarily rewrite the norms of American society.
  • President Donald Trump, employing a newly somber tone about the crisis enveloping the globe, urged all older Americans to stay home and everyone to avoid crowds and eating out at restaurants. The president for the first time acknowledged that the pandemic may send the economy into a recession and suggested that the nation may be dealing with the virus until “July or August.”
  • The guidelines were released to an uneasy country. The stock market had its worst day since 1987.
  • Among the new recommendations: Over the next half month, Americans should not gather in groups of more than 10 people, schooling should be at home and discretionary travel and social visits should be avoided. If anyone in a household tests positive for the virus, everyone who lives there should stay home.
  • “We will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus,” Trump said. “We can turn the corner and turn it quickly.”
  • Congress convened to try to finish an aid package and consider another one behind it. The Supreme Court postponed oral arguments for the first time in over a century. And the U.S. surgeon general said that the United States is about where Italy was two weeks ago in the coronavirus struggle, a sign that infections are expected to rise.
  • “When you look at the projections, there’s every chance that we could be Italy,” Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams told Fox News. Yet he said the U.S. has opportunities to mitigate the pandemic.
  • Read more HERE.

 

3. Virus could alter session, budgets

  • It looks like the Alabama Legislature’s 2020 Regular Session could be significantly altered by the coronavirus and efforts to stop its spread.
  • So could the budgets lawmakers are writing.
  • Right now, lawmakers are on a fortuitously-planned spring break that was supposed to last until March 26.
  • House spokesman Clay Redden confirmed the House will scrap committee meetings and a planned legislative day next week and instead reconvene on March 31 to assess the situation.
  • That’s possible thanks to a rule change following the snowstorm of 2014 that allows the Legislature to not “burn” legislative days if an emergency prevents a quorum.
  • Still, time is ticking on the 105 calendar days the session is allowed to last, and a prolonged postponement would almost certainly mean time running out before major items – including the budgets – are dispensed with, meaning special sessions could be necessary.
  • As far as the budgets go, that might be a good thing.
  • Some top lawmakers are expecting the new coronavirus and attempts to stop its spread to affect tax revenues and the 2021 budgets they’re drafting.
  • “I think it could have a dramatic impact,” Rep. Steve Clouse, R-Ozark, said Monday afternoon. He’s chairman of the House General Fund budget committee. He said it could be several weeks to a month before the financial toll of closures and social distancing are known. State and federal officials have said states will be reacting to the coronavirus for at least six to eight weeks.
  • “I think we’d need to wait as late as possible on the budgets to see how everything develops,” Clouse said.
  • Early this year, estimates for the estimated $2.5 billion 2021 General Fund and $7.5 billion education budgets showed increases over current year revenues.
  • Read more from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.

 

4. ABC closes 78 stores

  • The Alabama Beverage Control Board is temporarily closing 78 stores and reducing hours at others in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
  • “Because of staffing requirements and health concerns, we believe that closing some of our stores will provide the greatest amount of employee/customer protection, while ensuring maximum productivity and efficiency,” ABC’s government relations manager Dean Argo said.
  • In 2018, ABC had 864 employees, according to Alabama State Personnel Department data. There are about 170 stores statewide.
  • Stores remaining open will operate from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., Argo said.
  • Starting Wednesday, all stores will operate as “over the counter,” Argo said, to keep distance between customers and employees and no more than five customers at a time will be allowed in a store.
  • Customers will not be allowed to get products from store shelves. Store personnel will ask customers for their order, retrieve it and bring it to check out.
  • Customers are being asked to pay with credit and debit cards, not cash.
  • Read more and see the list of stores HERE.

 

5. Officials seek $750 billion in economic aid

  • With an urgency unseen since the Great Recession, Congress is rushing to develop a sweeping economic lifeline for American households and businesses suddenly capsized by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • “ASAP,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said late Monday. “There’s an urgency.”Senators returned to an emptied out U.S. Capitol, clear of tourists or colleagues from the House, to confront an even more dire situation than the one they left for a long weekend, before President Donald Trump declared a national emergency.
  • Pending is the House-passed aid package approved early Saturday — with sick pay, free testing and emergency food — that is endorsed by Trump and ready to become law.
  • But action was stalled for much of the day as the Senate waited on the House for technical corrections as Republicans and a leading small business group raised objections, a setback only resolved late in the evening with a House voice vote of approval. Senate passage could follow as early as today.
  • Industries representing a broad swath of the economy are seeking help in withstanding the fallout as schools close and Americans are being told to stay inside, skip nonessential travel and avoid gatherings with 10 people or more.
  • That means no dining out, no boarding planes, no shopping the malls as a great national shutdown sparks business closures, layoffs and lost paychecks for rents, mortgages and everyday needs.
  • Full story HERE.

 

Headlines

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Lawmakers looking for coronavirus’ impact on budgets; precautions could alter rest of legislative session

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama leaders to public: ‘Respect this disease’

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Alabama to follow feds on April 15 tax deadline change

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Update: ABC temporarily closing 78 stores

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Alabama: 29 virus cases; closures in state’s biggest county

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Officials seek $750 billion in economic aid to thwart virus

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump changes tone, urges caution to slow virus outbreak

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State superintendent issues letter to school districts on closure protocol

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey: State workers should stay home if possible

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Merrill seeks to postpone runoff election; Sessions, Tuberville continue campaigning

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – How it spreads, infects: Coronavirus impact comes into focus

 

ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – March 16, 2020

 

AL.COM  – How are Alabama’s largest cities handling coronavirus?

 

AL.COM  – What happens if you lose your job due to coronavirus? Alabama officials provide some answers

 

AL.COM  – ‘We’re open 24-7’: Alabama police, firefighters keep going despite coronavirus pandemic

 

AL.COM  – Club for Growth endorses Tuberville, abandons Sessions in Senate runoff

 

AL.COM  – 78 state-owned ABC liquor stores closing; open stores limited to 5 customers at a time

 

AL.COM  – Coronavirus: Alabama’s state-owned ABC liquor stores remain open

 

AL.COM  – Alabama gig workers find ways to adapt amid coronavirus pandemic

 

AL.COM  – How much does Alabama Power need to keep the lights on? The billion-dollar battle over expansion

 

AL.COM  – Jasper automotive supplier begins $7 million expansion

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Second COVID-19 case confirmed in Montgomery County, Alabama coronavirus total to 29

 

Montgomery Advertiser – COVID-19: Here are the ABC Stores that are closing in Montgomery, and those staying open

 

Montgomery Advertiser – Montgomery city facilities closed indefinitely amid COVID-19 pandemic

 

YellowHammer News – Alabama cable providers to offer no-cost, low-cost options during coronavirus pandemic

 

YellowHammer News – Huntsville leaders declare State of Emergency

 

YellowHammer News – First coronavirus screening facility opens in Montgomery; Drive-thru available with appointment

 

Tuscaloosa News – Alabama virus cases rise to 29

 

Tuscaloosa News – Alabama expected to delay April 15 tax deadline

 

Tuscaloosa News – Some local businesses plan temporary closures

 

Decatur Daily – 4 people in Morgan being tested for coronavirus

 

Decatur Daily – With school closures, some day cares stay open, school districts providing meals

 

Decatur Daily – Coronavirus could impact state Legislature, budgets

 

Times Daily – Alabama to follow feds on April 15 tax deadline change

 

Times Daily – Schools, food banks prepare to feed children during closure

 

Times Daily – Most households to receive Census invitations this week

 

Anniston Star – Coronavirus could impact Alabama Legislature, state budgets

 

Anniston Star – BREAKING: Calhoun County, Jacksonville schools to close after today

 

Anniston Star – State loosens unemployment rules in anticipation of COVID-19 layoffs

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Coronavirus could impact state Legislature, budgets

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Schools districts offering lunches during Coronavirus closure

 

WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – ABC temporarily closing 78 stores

 

WAFF Huntsville – ’Seems like daily cancellations’: Social distancing impacts on events

 

WAFF Huntsville – Madison City Schools offering student meal pickups during closure

 

WAFF Huntsville – Day care closures recommended but not required by law

 

Dothan Eagle – COVID-19 latest: Alabama: 29 virus cases; closures in state’s biggest county

 

Dothan Eagle – Alabama: 29 virus cases; closures in state’s biggest county

 

Dothan Eagle – City of Dothan adapts operations to deal with COVID-19

 

Gadsden Times – Etowah Co. Courthouse to remain open despite coronavirus

 

Gadsden Times – Shooting incident outside Centre hospital

 

Gadsden Times – ADPH to restaurants, retail: Cut capacity in half

 

Troy Messenger – MEETING OF THE MINDS: Officials meet to discuss COVID-19 coronavirus preparations

 

Troy Messenger – Local medical facilities gearing up for testing, treating of coronavirus

 

Troy Messenger – Grocers working to restock shelves as customers stock up amid coronavirus fears

 

Andalusia Star News – Opp man charged with two counts of attempted murder

 

Andalusia Star News – County offices to conduct most business via online or phones

 

Andalusia Star News – Update: City adds library, parks to list of closings

 

Opelika-Auburn News – COVID-19 latest: Drive-thru testing opens in Lee County; 29 virus cases confirmed in state

 

Opelika-Auburn News – EAMC deals with first virus case

 

Opelika-Auburn News – Lee County begins drive-thru testing; social-distancing highly encouraged

 

Daily Mountain Eagle – COVID-19 unemployment benefits made available

 

Daily Mountain Eagle – Empire VFD holds open house

 

Daily Mountain Eagle – Rains delay Parrish road grant project

 

Trussville Tribune – City of Clay closes Cosby Lake, other public facilities

 

Trussville Tribune – Trussville Chamber of Commerce cancels job fair, Spring Carnival due to coronavirus

 

Trussville Tribune – Trussville mayor hopes for the best for local businesses as coronavirus precautions intense

 

Athens News Courier – Athens man arrested on burglary charges

 

Athens News Courier – U.S.moves nearer to shutdown amid coronavirus fears

 

Athens News Courier – Schools, churches and organizations work to help feed community

 

Sand Mountain Reporter – Marshall Medical Centers: No COVID-19 cases on Sand Mountain

 

WSFA Montgomery – ABC Board to close some stores, decrease hours for others to limit coronavirus exposure

 

WSFA Montgomery – Dollar General encouraging stores to dedicate first hour of business to seniors

 

WSFA Montgomery – ALEA modifies Driver License Division operations in response to coronavirus

 

WKRG Mobile – Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson reportedly released from hospital

 

WKRG Mobile – Florida moves ahead with Tuesday primary despite coronavirus concerns

 

WKRG Mobile – Uncertainty surrounds Democratic primary as Ohio scraps vote

 

WTVY Dothan – Coronavirus closings and cancellations

 

WTVY Dothan – EPA Expands COVID-19 Disinfectant List

 

WTVY Dothan – Schools, restaurants, entertainment, closings and other coronavirus news

 

WASHINGTON POST  – Americans kept wondering what the president wanted them to do about coronavirus. Finally, Trump offered some guidance

 

WASHINGTON POST  – Dow plunges nearly 3,000 points as Fed intervention does little to subdue Wall Street’s distress

 

WASHINGTON POST  – Biden’s promise to choose a woman veep reignites hopes of a female president

 

WASHINGTON POST  – Justice Dept. abandons prosecution of Russian firm indicted in Mueller election interference probe

 

WASHINGTON POST  – Congressional leaders, administration push swift action on third coronavirus relief bill with major economic stimulus

 

WASHINGTON POST  – Food banks are seeing volunteers disappear and supplies evaporate as coronavirus fears mount

 

NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump Urges Limits Amid Pandemic, but Stops Short of National Mandates

 

NEW YORK TIMES  – America’s Economy Begins to Shut Down as Pandemic Measures Take Hold

 

NEW YORK TIMES  – ‘People Need Immediate Relief,’ and Online Donors Make It Happen

Front Pages (images link to newspaper websites, which you should visit and patronize)