State Health Officer issues mandatory health orders for five counties surrounding Jefferson County due to risks caused by COVID-19


CONTACT: Burnestine Taylor, M.D.
(334) 206-2100

State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris has issued orders suspending certain public gathering due to the risk of infection by the novel coronavirus COVID-19. These orders are applicable for the counties of Blount, St. Clair, Shelby, Tuscaloosa and Walker. The order is summarized as follows:

  • Effective March 17, all gatherings of 25 people or more or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons are prohibited in these counties. This order applies to all events or activities that bring 25 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time.
  • Effective March 18, all senior citizen centers are to be closed. Senior centers and their partners are urged to assure that their clients continue to receive needed meals via curbside pickup or delivery.
  • Effective March 18 through April 6, all private schools (grades through 12) and preschools and childcare centers with 12 or more children, except for those operated within hospitals, shall be closed. Prior to April 6, a determination will be made about whether to extend these closures.
  • All nursing homes and long-term care facilities will prohibit visitors, except for compassionate care situations such as end-of-life care.
  • Effective at 5 p.m. March 17, any restaurant, brewery or bar shall not permit onsite food or drink to be served for at least one week, with certain provisions. Establishments may continue to offer food for take-out or delivery provided the social distancing protocols including maintaining a consistent six-foot distance between persons are followed. Establishments are strongly encouraged to offer online ordering and curbside pickup of food.  Hospital food service areas are excluded provided they have their own social distancing plan.

    If the organizers or sponsors of an otherwise suspended event wishes, they may submit a request for an exemption from this order.

    On March 13, Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state public health emergency exists in Alabama. On March 16, in response to a rapidly growing number of cases of COVID-19 being detected in Jefferson County, Dr. Mark Wilson, Jefferson County health officer, issued health orders with similar restrictions.

    State Health Officer Dr. Scott Harris said, “Our strategy is always to contain the spread of infection, and the most important message for now is that a six-foot distance between individuals be maintained. We urge people to use common sense and stay home when sick. Everyone in the state has the ability to keep safe, and I know that working together we can get through this.”

    A copy of the complete health order can be viewed at