Gov. Kay Ivey issued two supplemental state of emergencies Friday morning.
“I want to do everything within my authority to protect businesses as Alabama’s economy gets up and running again," Ivey said in a release. "As we resume operations, the very last thing a business owner needs to worry about is a frivolous lawsuit from responding to COVID-19. Let me be clear, this in no way shields them from serious misconduct. If someone knowingly abuses the public during a time of crisis, they should be held accountable and prosecuted as such.”
A breakdown of each state of emergency is below:
Eighth Supplemental Emergency Proclamation (Liability Protections)
- Like other governors, Ivey is providing safe harbor to healthcare providers, businesses and other entities to encourage the reopening of our State.
- These protections recognize the state needs these groups not only to get Alabama up and running again but also to do so in a way that promotes public health and safety. To provide two examples:
- The order protects healthcare providers from a frivolous lawsuit based on actions they took or failed to take as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The order protects businesses from frivolous lawsuits when they conduct COVID-19 testing or distribute personal protective equipment to help protect people from COVID-19.
- Importantly, the order in no way shields these groups from claims of egregious misconduct. Claims based on egregious misconduct would be allowed to proceed.
- The order is based on two aspects of the Emergency Management Act:
- The act itself grants immunity in certain instances where people or companies are trying to comply with the state’s emergency orders.
- The act also gives the governor power to take steps necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the public. Like the other governors who have extended these protections, Ivey believes these "reasonable, common-sense protections" for these groups will promote the safety and security of the general public.
Ninth Supplemental Emergency Proclamation (Miscellaneous Provisions)
- One provision allows for probate judges to improve procedures for administering the July 14th primary runoff election. For example, probate judges would be allowed to reduce the number of poll workers, if necessary. They would also be allowed to conduct poll-worker training remotely.
- Another provision cuts red tape for electric coops seeking to obtain emergency loans. This will help ensure electrical cops are still able to provide electricity to their members during this public health emergency.
- A final provision will extend the formal “public health emergency” for 60 days, beginning Wednesday.
- This is separate from the public health orders issued by state public health officer Dr. Scott Harris. The existence of the state of emergency simply allows the governor to take extraordinary steps to deal with an emergency situation.
- Extending a state of emergency is a routine action taken for emergencies that have extended effects. For example:
- BP Oil Spill: Gov. Bob Riley proclaimed the state of emergency on April 30, 2010, then he and Gov. Robert Bentley extended it 10 times for a total duration of almost 2 1/2 years.
- April 2011 Tornadoes: Bentley proclaimed the state of emergency on April 27, 2011, and then extended it five times for a total duration of almost 10 months.