Gulf Shores recommends May 1 opening for beaches
City notes that final decision will be up to State of Alabama
By Fran Thompson
Although it was noted that the State of Alabama will make the final decision, Gulf Shores City Council is recommending reopening local businesses and beaches on a limited scale beginning May 1.
“Many of our local businesses, their employees and their families are barely hanging on. Their future is uncertain. Federal business assistance programs are now out of money. And their only chance of survival is for us to find a way to begin safely moving forward together,’’ Gulf Shores Mayor Craft stated in Facebook message from City Council.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey and State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris will make any ultimate decision about opening the City of Gulf Shores for business. “We were asked to provide our recommendations and did so yesterday (April 15) following a lengthy discussion with State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris about specific issues related to safely opening our beaches and our local tourism economy,’’ Mayor Craft stated.
“Our belief is that we must collectively develop a gradual and measured approach that can evolve as this situation continues to do so,’’ Mayor Craft added. “This likely includes requiring our businesses reopen under modified conditions and that we all adapt to a new normal for awhile.’’
Gulf Shores recommends the following:
• All beaches reopen for limited recreational use only. Walking, running, swimming, surfing, fishing or other similar activity is permitted as long as social distancing guidelines are followed. Congregating on the beach and the use of chairs, tents and/or umbrellas is prohibited.
• All small businesses previously closed may reopen and food and beverage establishments may offer on-premise consumption subject to social distancing guidelines as set by the State Health Officer.
• All medical and dental offices may reopen and elective procedures may resume subject to social distancing guidelines set by the State Health Officer.
• All beaches reopen for normal activities subject to compliance with social distancing guidelines as set by the State Health Officer.
“We remain in close communication with our partners at the federal, state and local levels regarding our response to COVID-19,’’ Mayor Craft stated. “We are seeing encouraging signs that the social distancing actions we have collectively taken as citizens are working and that we are indeed flattening the curve, particularly in Alabama’’ Mayor Craft stated. “This means that transmission rates are slowing and our healthcare system’s capacity is being preserved. It does not mean the risk of contracting the virus is gone and the reality is we will likely live with some risk for the forseeable future as we do with other infectious diseases.’’