Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox has enacted a 24-hour curfew within the city of Tuscaloosa starting Sunday.
Maddox made the announcement in a news conference Thursday at 8 p.m., saying that the COVID-19 situation is rapidly worsening and the only way to help reduce the numbers of people catching the virus is enacting stricter rules.
The curfew, which begins 10 p.m. Sunday and runs through April 11, will close nonessential businesses such as night clubs, gyms, spas, hair salons and retail stores not offering essential services.
Essential businesses such as pharmacies, grocery stores, doctor’s offices, gas stations and restaurants will remain open as long as they practice social distancing of 6 or more feet between people and do not allow on-premises consumption of food or beverages.
Residents are allowed to leave their homes to engage in essential activities such as grocery shopping, doctor’s visits, going to work at an essential business or caring for minors or adults.
Failure to comply with the order will be punishable by a $500 file and/or up to 180 days in jail.
Maddox said the decision comes in the wake of the state attorney general’s letter Wednesday suggesting more authority for cities to enact rules that normally would run afoul of state law. Gov. Kay Ivey is allowing cities more leeway regarding curfews and stay at home orders to fight the spread of COVID-19.
In addition, data suggests without stricter rules hospitals could be overrun with patients infected with coronavirus, Maddox said, and ensuring there are enough beds for proper treatment for both the virus and patients with non-COVID-19 illnesses is a priority.