“Stay at Home” Statewide Public Health Order Frequently Asked Questions for Individuals

April 6, 2020
“Stay at Home” Statewide Public Health Order Frequently Asked Questions for Individuals

Alabama Department of Public Health | alabamapublichealth.gov | April 5, 2020

In cooperation with Governor Kay Ivey's Office, the Alabama Department of Public Health has created these Stay at Home Frequently Asked Questions for Individuals addressing the most asked questions related to the latest emergency order (Spanish version) from State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris, which went into effect April 4 at 5 p.m.

1. May I do X, Y, or Z?

The answer depends on the language of the state health order. But before asking whether you can legally do X, Y, or Z, ask yourself, “Is doing X, Y, or Z a good idea?” If doing X, Y, or Z would increase the risk of transmitting COVID-19, try not to do it.

Click here to see the full State Health Stay-at-Home Order.

2. When can I leave my home?

You may leave home only to do “essential activities” allowed by the order. For example, you can go get “necessary” services or supplies, and you can help other people (or pets!) get these necessary services or supplies. You can also go to work in some circumstances. There are a few other “essential activities” listed in the order; most are addressed in some way on this FAQ.

3. What are “necessary” supplies or services?

The order gives several examples of necessary services and supplies—for example, food, pharmaceuticals, gas for your car, and emergency medical care. In each case, the services and supplies must be “necessary” for a person’s (or a pet’s) safety, sanitation, or daily routine. But remember: Always ask yourself whether going somewhere, even for “necessary” supplies and services, would increase the risk of COVID-19 transmission. If you can delay, delay.

4. Can I go to church? What about weddings and funerals

Yes, you may attend these services, but only in limited circumstances. A service can proceed in person if it involves fewer than 10 people spaced at least six feet apart from one another. Or, it can be a “drive-in” service where people remain in cars with other people from their household—spaced six feet away from people in other cars. To help prevent COVID-19 transmission, every effort should be made to conduct these services through remote participation.

5. What can I do outside? Can I play golf or tennis? Can I take my children to the playground? What about boating, hunting, and fishing?

Generally, you may go outside as long as you stay six feet apart from other people—and never congregate in a group of 10 or more people. But some outside activities are specifically prohibited—including spectator sports, sports that involve interaction within 6 feet of another person, activities that require the use of shared equipment, and commercial  or public playground equipment. In short, keep exercising and go outside—but avoid activities that increase the risk of spreading COVID-19. 

6. Am I allowed to leave home for work?

Yes. You may go to work if your workplace is one of the many “essential businesses and operations” listed in the order. Even if your work is not listed as “essential,” you may also go to work if doing so would allow your employer to “maintain” its value (for example, providing security or managing inventory), or if doing so would allow other people to work or shop remotely (including drive-by, curbside, and delivery), or if doing so would require no regular interaction within six feet of another person. 

7. What about cleaning services, remodeling crews, home health workers, and lawn services? In other words, can people come to my home to provide services?

It depends. As mentioned above in question 6, people can go to work for an “essential” business or if they will have no regular interaction within six feet of another person. So it may be legal to provide some of these services at your home, especially lawn services. (“Home health workers and aides” are specifically listed as essential.) But always ask, “is this a good idea”? If you can delay the service, delay it.

8. May I leave my home to transfer custody of my children? What about visiting family?

Yes, the order allows people to leave home to travel as required by court order, including specifically the “transportation of children as required by a custody agreement.” You may also visit family, as long as it’s at their place of residence.

9. When I do leave home, does it matter how I travel? Can I travel by bus? What about airlines?

The order does not prohibit any method of travel. But remember: You should make every effort to avoid situations that increase the risk of spreading COVID-19.

Click here for PDF document of “Stay at Home” Statewide Public Health Order Frequently Asked Questions for Individuals