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Huntsville mayor asking people to obey coronavirus health order; not issuing stay-at-home order

Mayor Tommy Battle said the current health order is like a stay at home order without a curfew.

Posted: Apr 2, 2020 5:55 PM

Models by the federal government show Alabama is still weeks from its peak number of coronavirus cases.

The drastic climb in cases is leading to calls for action from Washington.

US Sen. Doug Jones is encouraging Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey to issue a stay-at-home order for the state. WAAY 31 worked to learn if a stay at home order or shelter in place order could be issued in Huntsville.

At City Hall on Thursday Mayor Tommy Battle said in his opinion the city is already using a stay-at-home order but without the curfew. He agrees with Ivey that closing non-essential businesses should be enough to stop coronavirus.

While a lot of businesses are closed, some city parks in Huntsville remain open. At Big Spring Park on Thursday, a handful of people were gathered. The city has said playing any type of sport in the park is currently banned and the Mayor said police will enforce the law. He also said Community Resource Officers from the police department are visiting big box stores to make sure they’re following the Governor’s order.

Battle said with nice weather expected this weekend he wants everyone to practice social distancing.

"If everybody forgets about it and takes a weekend off and decides that they're going to get together and have cookouts and everything else then we are going to have more spread of this virus," Battle said.

WAAY 31 asked Battle if people having barbecues and gatherings would force his hand to issue a stay at home order. Here is what he said:

"We will be working in compliance with our other government partners and our Alabama Department of Public Health and the hospitals. We will make a group decision on whether to or not to," he said.

Police do have the right to cite people violating the health order. WAAY 31 asked Battle if that's what the city plans to do. He said right now it's about educating people and no one has been cited.

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