COVID-19: PPP open exclusively for smallest businesses through March 10; state health order, mask mandate continue to 5 p.m. March 5; OSHA issues workplace guidance

Alabama is under a state of emergency (22nd, 21st, 20th, 19th, 18th, 17th, 16th, 15th, 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, 10th, 9th, 8th, 7th, 6th, 5th, 4th, 3rd and 2nd supplements) due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel human coronavirus. The 20th supplemental proclamation dated Dec. 9 extends the state of emergency until March 8, 2021. The 14th and 15th relate to the statewide mask mandate.  Click here for emergency rules and actions taken by state agencies.

Expires 5 p.m. Friday, March 5

The United States is also under national emergency status.  As a result, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued an Emergency Declaration Order, which has been expanded and extended through Feb. 28, 2021.

This page is updated regularly with information related specifically to this global pandemic. See the Alabama Retail Associations’ Emergency Preparedness Page for broader emergency preparedness information. During these uncertain times, consult your company lawyer, accountant, insurance company, banker/financial adviser about business and/or legal decisions.

Last updated at 3 p.m., Feb. 22, 2021

EMERGENCY CORONAVIRUS RELIEF ACT OF 2020: Late Dec. 21, 2020, Congress delivered a $900 billion relief bill to the president. He signed H.R. 133 into law Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020. The relief package includes $284 billion for forgivable small business loans, targeted grants, tax credits for offering paid sick leave and employee retention, $600 direct stimulus payments for most Americans, a $300 per week supplemental jobless benefit and more.

Contact your lender about new round of forgivable loans!
Loans extended through March 31 or until funding runs out

The SBA is offering Paycheck Protection Program loans to businesses with 20 or less employees and sole proprietors only from Wednesday, Feb. 24 through Wednesday, March 10.

Changes to Paycheck Protection Program Announced Feb. 22
Opens 9 a.m. Feb. 24; Closes March 10
View all SBA coronavirus relief options for small business

(For those who have not received a PPP loan)
(For those who have previously received a PPP loan)

Paycheck Protection Program Reopened Week of Jan. 11
First-time loans from community financial institutions opened Jan. 11
2nd draw loans opened Jan. 13 from same sources


SBA Interim Final Rule on Paycheck Protection Program
as Amended by the Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Nonprofits, and Venues Act

SBA Interim Final Rule on Second Draw Loans

SBA Guidance on Accessing Capital for Minority, Underserved, Veteran and Women-Owned Business Concerns

Rules above were issued or updated Jan. 6

For more details on the overarching COVID Relief Act, read the House appropriations summary and/or these:

>> Alabama Small Business Development Network initial summary
>> Federal resources for U.S. small businesses, including summaries of the relief package
>> National Federation of Independent Businesses initial summary;
Jan. 7 version| Fact Sheet | Webinar
>> U.S. Chamber summary
>> Act extends tax credit to employers choosing to extend FFCRA leaves until March 31, 2021 (Dec. 29 Q&A by Lehr Middlebrooks Vreeland & Thompson PC)

Federal Property
Domestic Travel
On Public Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs

Improve How Your Mask Protects You and Others
Revised CDC mask guidance issued Feb. 10, 2021

Requirement for Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery for Air Passengers Arriving in United States
Effective 12:01 a.m. Jan. 26, 2021

Issued Friday, Jan. 29

Emergency Proclamation (Issued Dec. 11): The governor in coordination with the Alabama Legislature issued an emergency proclamation that excludes the $7.2 billion in CARES Act benefits issued in Alabama from state taxation. The proclamation also extends the sunset dates for the Alabama Jobs Act and Growing Alabama tax credits. Read governor’s full news release.

Alabama Department of Revenue Guidance for Emergency Tax Relief Measures
Dec. 18, 2020 | Updated Jan. 7, 2021

State Health Order (Full provisions of Jan. 21 order at link): Alabama created a uniform statewide face covering mandate as part of its state health order July 15. On July 29, the state expanded that mandate to apply to school settings for 2nd graders through college. With exceptions, face coverings are required for those older than 6 when within six feet of those outside their household: A) in indoor spaces open to the public; B) when using transportation services and; C) in outside public spaces where 10 or more people are gathered. Under the latest order issued Jan. 21, the mask mandate expires 5 p.m. Friday, March 5. The statewide health order allows retail, restaurants and other businesses in our state to be open. All nonwork gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons from different households continues to be prohibited. Frequent sanitation and disinfection is required for all groups.

One-Page Summary of State Health Order

Mask Requirement FAQs
(Updated 7/21 to add face shields and schools)

Mask Mandate Graphics Provided by the State of Alabama

Download Zip File of Shop Alabama Mask Mandate Graphics
(See Examples Below and Above)


Alabama shortens home quarantine for close COVID-19 contacts (Dec. 11 ADPH news release): Under its authority to establish state quarantine and isolation requirements, the Alabama Department of Public Health has reduced the home quarantine period for those who may have been exposed to COVID-19 in certain circumstances. The state now offers a 10-day quarantine option if the exposed experiences no symptoms and follows other requirements and precautions. At this time, Alabama does not offer a 7-day quarantine option with a negative test, as the CDC offers (see link below) “While we would like to be able to decrease the home quarantine time frame to seven days for persons who may have been exposed to COVID-19, this is not possible at this time,” said Dr. Scott Harris, the state health officer.

ADPH Isolation and Quarantine Timeframes
Updated Feb. 18, 2021, to Include Close Contacts for the Fully Vaccinated

CDC Quarantine Guidance
Updated Dec. 10, 2020

CDC Options to Shorten Quarantine for Those With Close COVID-19 Contact 
Issued Dec. 2, 2020

CDC Guidance on Retail Workplace Violence Associated with COVID-19 Prevention Policies
Includes resources and training on workplace violence, actions to prevent workplace violence and a printable do’s and don’ts poster for employees.
Issued Aug. 24. Updated Sept. 1

CDC FAQs for Businesses
Includes questions related to suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases in the workplace; reducing the spread in workplaces; and healthy business operations. Updated Sept. 14.

Duration of Isolation and Precautions for Adults with COVID-19
(Updated Sept. 10)

CDC Testing Overview
(Updated Sept. 18)

The businesses open in some way in Alabama are:

  • Retail merchants must adhere to social distancing and sanitation rules. Effective Nov. 8.  The 50% maximum occupancy rate that began April 30 ended Nov. 8.
  • Restaurants, close-contact services (barber shops/hair salons) and athletic facilities (gyms). Effective Sunday, Nov. 8.
    • RESTAURANT RULES: Limit dining-in party size at tables to no more than eight people with at least six feet of separation between people seated at different tables, booths, chairs or stools. People at different booths or tables may be seated closer than six feet apart if they are separated by solid partitions, as large as practicable, that are impermeable to respiratory droplets and aerosols. A mask or other facial covering is required for employees at all times. As of 5 p.m. Aug. 31, self service by guests at drink stations, buffets or salad bars are allowed under the supervision of an employee monitoring social distancing and proper hand sanitizing. Games, such as pool and darts, can be played if 6-feet distance between players can be maintained, equipment isn’t shared and is sanitized between uses. Restaurants, bars, breweries and other businesses with health department permits are encouraged to continue take-out, curbside, pick-up and delivery service as well.
    • CLOSE-CONTACT RULES: Each employee is required to wear a mask or other facial covering that covers his or her nostrils and mouth, at all times while providing services within 6 feet of a client. Clients may be closer than six feet apart if they have their face covered and are separated by curtains or other partitions, as large as practicable, that are impermeable to respiratory droplets and aerosols. All close-contact service providers are encouraged — and employees providing nail services or facial services are required — to wear gloves when providing services within 6 feet of a client. To the extent employees wear gloves when providing services, they should use a new pair of gloves for each client and should put them on immediately after washing their hands.
    • ATHLETIC FACILITY RULES: Employees are to make sure patrons are six feet apart from others not in their household. They can be closer if separated by curtains or other partitions, as large as practicable, that are impermeable to respiratory droplets and aerosols. A mask or other facial covering is required for employees. Athletic facilities must also prohibit patrons and guests from accessing showers, hot tubs, steam rooms, lockers, saunas and other recreational water or spa facilities.
  •  Entertainment venues (museums, theaters, bowling alleys) summer camps, adult and youth athletic activities, child day cares and educational facilities.  The ADPH guidance for these groups follows:
  • Winter Sports Guidance Issued Dec. 16

The health order also includes provisions for all businesses including these safeguards. Other general business reopening and general guidance resources include:

Attorney General Statement on Municipal Use of Power in Wake of April 30 Health Order: Excerpt: “Some municipalities have already expressed their intent to impose or maintain more restrictive orders than the state. Though Alabama law grants municipalities broad ‘police powers’ when it comes to protecting the public health and safety, these powers must be exercised within constitutional parameters. Municipalities are thus strongly advised to carefully balance the constitutional implications of imposing and enforcing more restrictive safety measures against the need for such measures.”

AG Establishes Response Teams to Answer Questions About Compliance with State Health Order (April 9 AG news release): The Alabama attorney general’s office has assembled response teams to answer legal questions from local law enforcement, city and county officials, business owners and management, employees and the general public about how to comply with the State Health Order.

What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and Other EEO Laws
(Issued Dec. 16): This document includes a new section providing information to employers and employees about how a COVID-19 vaccination interacts with the legal requirements of the the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA).  Section K covers vaccination questions. For an overview, read the EEOC news release.

>> Dec. 17 memo from Lehr Middlebrooks Vreeland & Thompson, Alabama Retail Association’s employment law partner

Simplified PPP Forgiveness Application for Loan of $50,000 or Less  (Added Oct. 8 /Expires Oct. 31) Contact your lender to determine how to proceed. SBA Form 3508S requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers. Borrowers that use SBA Form 3508S are exempt from reductions in loan forgiveness amounts based on reductions in full-time equivalent (FTE) employees or in salaries or wages. The form also does not require borrowers to show the calculations used to determine their loan forgiveness amount. However, SBA may request information and documents to review those calculations as part of its loan review process. (Keep your documentation!)

PPP Extension (S.4116): On July 4, the president signed a five-week extension to the Paycheck Protection Program, which Congress approved earlier in the week. The program for businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic had expired Tuesday, June 30, with roughly $130 billion left unused. Applications closed Aug. 8. As of that date, 70,331 loans valued at $6,245,496,446 (View loan report) had been approved for Alabama businesses. General FAQs | Loan Forgiveness FAQs

Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (Act text): The latest federal relief act gives businesses up to 24 weeks to spend funds from the Paycheck Protection Program and still have the Small Business Administration loans forgiven. The president signed the legislation Friday, June 5. The U.S. Senate approved the legislation Wednesday, June 3, on a voice vote, while the House passed it May 28. 

The law:

  • Extends the PPP covered period from 8 weeks to 24 weeks.
  • Extends the June 30 deadline for (re)hiring workers until Dec. 31. The deadline to apply was August 8.
  • Lowers the 75% requirement for payroll expenses to 60% for forgiveness. The June 10 interim final rule confirms borrowers that use less than 60% of their PPP loan amount for payroll costs will still be eligible for partial loan forgiveness.
  • Expands the 25% cap to use PPP funds on nonpayroll expenses, such as rent, mortgage interest and utilities, to 40% of the total loan.
  • Allows payroll tax deferment for PPP recipients.
  • Extends the loan terms for any unforgiven portions that need to be repaid from two years to five years, at 1% interest. For loans made before June 5, the loan matures in two years, but the borrower and lender may mutually agree to extend the maturity to five years. Loans made on or after June 5, 2020, will have a five-year maturity date.
  • Gives small businesses more time to rehire employees or to obtain forgiveness for the loan if social-distancing guidelines and health-related actions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other agencies prevent the business from operating at the same capacity as it had before March 1.

Joint SBA/Treasury Statement on Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (June 8)

Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act (Act text): On Friday, April 24, the president signed this $484 billion coronavirus relief package into law. The U.S. House gave final approval April 23 to the package that includes $310 billion for the forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Of that amount, $60 billion expedites lending by small, midsize and community lenders. The program is meant to help small companies cover payroll and other essential expenses for roughly two months. Loans can be forgiven if businesses maintain the size of their workforce. The SBA resumed accepting PPP applications April 27 from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower. The act also provides $50 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and $10 billion for emergency grants. Those grants are capped at $10,000. Businesses with fewer than 10 employees can receive $1,000 for each full-time employee. Businesses that have not already submitted loan applications should contact your lender.

For more info, read the:

SBA and Treasury Release Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application  and Instructions (May 15 news release): The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Linked below). SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities. Download the application and instruction pdf.

According to the American Bankers Association, the SBA’s announcements included:

  • Safe harbor from loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers that were able to rehire employees who had previously been let go or laid off by June 30, 2020.
  • An exemption from forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined.

SAFE HARBOR: On May 13, SBA and Treasury extended an automatic safe harbor to borrowers receiving PPP loans of less than $2 million. “Any borrower that, together with its affiliates, received PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith,” an update to PPP frequently asked questions (Question 46) states.

Earlier, the U.S. Treasury Department had issued guidance making it harder for publicly traded companies to qualify for the PPP money intended for small businesses, threatening penalties in some cases if firms do not repay money they already received. “It is unlikely that a public company with substantial market value and access to capital markets will be able to make the required certification in good faith, and such a company should be prepared to demonstrate to SBA, upon request, the basis for its certification,” the guidance states. “Any borrower that applied for a PPP loan prior to the issuance of this guidance and repays the loan in full by May 18, 2020, will be deemed by SBA to have made the required certification in good faith.” The guidance originally had a May 7 deadline, then a May 14 deadline as a repayment date for safe harbor. Safe harbor guidance (Question 46) issued May 13 noted that borrowers that received PPP loans for amounts more than $2 million are subject to review by the SBA for compliance with program requirements, including the certification of economic need. Those businesses “also may still have an adequate basis for making the required good-faith certification, based on their individual circumstances,” the guidance states.

CARES ACT (Link to the full law): On April 2, the U.S. Treasury Department issued an interim final rule for the $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The program involved forgivable loans to small businesses through SBA-approved 7(a) lenders, banks, or credit unions as well as all federally insured depository institutions, federally insured credit unions and Farm Credit System institutions. The application process shut down from April 16 through April 26 due to lack of funding. SBA starting taking new applications at 10:30 a.m. EDT Monday, April 27.

Deferral of employment tax deposits and payments through Dec. 31 (IRS FAQs): The CARES Act allows employers to defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security taxes and self-employed individuals to defer payment of certain self-employment taxes.

U.S. Treasury Department CARES Act webpage

FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT (Link is to full text of legislation signed into law March 18, 2020) The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes two employment-related components – the Emergency Family and Medical Expansion Leave Act and the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act. This federal legislation takes effect April 1, 2020. It expires on Dec. 31, 2020.

$300 million in CARES Act funds to be allocated to Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund
(Sept. 10 news release from the governor)

Extended Benefits program expired Sept. 12 (ADOL news release): The Alabama Department of Labor will pay the extended benefits through Oct. 3. This federal program kicks in anytime the state’s insured unemployment rate exceeds 5.9%.

Federal extension and state receives grant for Lost Wages Assistance: On Saturday, Aug. 8, the president signed orders that included temporary extension of unemployment benefits. The state of Alabama applied for and on Aug. 21 was granted a Lost Wages Assistance grant. The FEMA grant will allow Alabama to provide $300 per week, on top of regular unemployment benefits, to people who are unemployed because of COVID-19. Payments, retroactive to Aug. 1, began Sept. 3. The sixth and final week of payments ends Sept. 19. Claimants will be notified by ADOL via their Tracker and the U.S. mail if they are eligible for the payments, according to a department news release. (DOL guidance | FEMA Guidelines | FAQs)

$600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation Expires July 25 (ADOL news release): The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), an additional $600 federal benefit granted by the CARES Act, expired on benefit weeks ending July 25. If a claimant is eligible for retroactive benefits on their claim, they will receive the additional $600 FPUC payment for eligible weeks between March 29 and July 25, even if the claim is processed after July 25, the Alabama Department of Labor said in a statement issued July 13. The U.S. Department of Labor first published guidance April 4 for states on the additional $600 weekly payment to certain eligible individuals who are receiving other benefits (news release). Alabama DOL began paying the additional benefit April 9.

Refusal of work can cause a disqualification in UC benefits: On Thursday, April 23, the Alabama Department of Labor issued a statement reminding unemployment claimants that if their employer calls them back they must accept work.

EMPLOYERS: Click here to report employees working AND claiming unemployment compensation.

On Aug. 26, the Alabama Labor Department opened a separate portal for employers to report employees who are receiving unemployment benefits while also being compensated with PPP funds. PPP UC Fraud Portal

U.S. Labor Department Guidance on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (DOL news release): Individuals who do not qualify for regular unemployment compensation and are unable to continue working as a result of COVID-19, such as self-employed workers, independent contractors, and gig workers, are eligible for pandemic unemployment assistance benefits. Those who qualify could receive up to 39 weeks of benefits.

ADOL launches unemployment claims tracker (ADOL news release): On April 16,  the Alabama Labor Department launched a new online tool to enable claimants to see the status of their claim, tell them what the next steps are and what to expect from the department. The department quickly corrected an error in the tracker, which initially told claimants to file a new claim because of the quarter had changed. The department advises claimants who received that message to continue to certify weekly and watch for a PUA-D4503-MI form in the mail.

Alabama Department of Labor offers detailed instructions for filing bulk partial UC claims for your employees (ADOL website)

Alabama Announces UC Relief for Employers of Workers Impacted by COVID-19: The Alabama Department of Labor announced relief for employers whose employees must file unemployment compensation claims for weeks filed due to COVID-19 related issues. All charges will be waived against those employers who file partial unemployment compensation claims on behalf of their employees. This waiver means that employers’ experience ratings will NOT be affected by COVID-19 related claims. Employers will need to answer YES when asked if the claim is COVID-19 related when they file partial unemployment claims beginning on Monday, March 23.

Alabama Announces Support for Workers Impacted by COVID-19: The Alabama Department of Labor has modified existing unemployment compensation rules to allow workers to file a claim for unemployment compensation benefits who are affected in any of the following ways:

  • Those who are quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency,
  • Those who are laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns,
  • Those who are diagnosed with COVID-19,
  • Or, those who are caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

Read more about the modifications here and at link above. Workers can file for benefits online at or by calling 1-866-234-5382. Online filing is encouraged.


COVID-19 Risk Indicator Dashboard
: On June 30, the Alabama Department of Public Health introduced a tool that allows policymakers and others to easily see the risk status of each county in order to guide health behavior. Learn more about how the information is calculated.


The statewide face covering mandate applies from 5 p.m. Thursday, July 16, through Aug. 31. It supersedes the local mandates below, according to the state health order. Should the state order be rescinded, these orders could be reactivated.

DECATUR (ordinance): On July 8 and July 10, the Decatur City Council approved an ordinance that requires those older than 2 to wear a face covering in public places, including businesses and restaurants. The ordinance is effective at 5 p.m. Monday, July 13. All businesses and venues open to the general public are to post a notice at all public entrances, stating that face coverings are required inside the establishment. The council is to review the ordinance every 30 days.

MONTGOMERY (ordinance): Effective Tuesday, July 7, face coverings or masks are required in public places within the city of Montgomery. The Montgomery City Council voted at its July 21 meeting to extend the ordinance for an additional 30 days. The city first began requiring face coverings or masks June 19 through a mayoral executive order. The ordinance requires face coverings for those older than six in public places where 10 or more people are present. It applies to employees, customers and clients of businesses within the city. A mask or face covering may only be removed in a restaurant or bar when one’s food arrives at the table or to consume a beverage. Otherwise, the mask or face covering must be worn while in the establishment. FAQs

MADISON COUNTY (health order): Effective at 5 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, everyone in Madison County is required to wear a face covering when in public under a health order issued by the Madison County health officer. Face coverings are required in stores, bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, public meeting spaces,  government buildings and other indoor places open to the public as well as on transportation services. Covering your mouth and nose is also required in outdoor areas open to the public where 10 or more persons are gathered and where people are unable to maintain a distance of 6 or more feet between persons not from the same household. ADPH news release on Madison County health order.

TUSCALOOSA (ordinance): Effective Monday, July 6, adults (with some exceptions) and children – parents have discretion with children between the ages of 2 and 8 – are required to wear face coverings when inside of businesses open to the general public, when using public transportation and when in outdoor gatherings of 10 or more people. All businesses and venues open to the general public are to post a notice at all public entrances, stating that face coverings are required inside the establishment. FAQs and posters

MOBILE (ordinance): For 30 days beginning 5 p.m. Friday, June 3, face coverings are required in public places, including retail stores and transportation services, for everyone older than 10 within the city of Mobile and police jurisdiction. FAQs

GREENE COUNTY: As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 1, residents of Greene County must wear a face covering when out in public, whether indoors or outdoors. Exceptions include outdoors in a group of fewer than 10 people where everyone can practice social distancing.

JEFFERSON COUNTY (Health order): By order of the Jefferson County Health Officer, as of 5 p.m. Monday, June 29, everyone in the county age 8 and older must cover their mouth and nose with a cloth or other non-medical-grade covering when inside places, businesses and venues open to the public, on public transit and when 10 or more are gathered outdoors and unable to stay six foot apart. There are multiple exceptions, including when eating and drinking and during hair-care services.

Jefferson County Face Covering Toolkit plus suggested signage for stores
Where to Wear A Face Covering Infographic

SELMA (Executive order): Effective 5 p.m. Saturday, June 27, those in Selma over the age of two who can medically tolerate wearing a face mask must do so when in public and in groups of 10 people or more, including in situations involving employees, customers or clients. Masks must be worn outdoors when in groups of 10 people or more when a six-foot social distance cannot be maintained.

BIRMINGHAM: As of May 1, the city of Birmingham began requiring face coverings in public places. The ordinance was amended May 5, May 12, May 19, May 29 and June 9. Under the latest version, everyone in the city limits of Birmingham is to wear face coverings until 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 3. The ordinance permits dining in a restaurant without a face covering.

Federal Face Covering Guidelines
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. CDC additionally advises the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.

The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders. Surgical masks or N-95 respirators are crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings. Surgeon General video on how to make your own face covering.

For workers in food production, processing and retail settings who do not typically wear masks as part of their jobs, the Food & Drug Administration says to consider the following if you choose to use a cloth face covering to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Maintain face coverings in accordance with parameters in FDA’s Model Food Code sections 4-801.11 Clean Linens and 4.802.11 Specifications.
  • Launder reusable face coverings before each daily use.

CDC also has additional information on the use of face coverings, including washing instructions and information on how to make homemade face covers.

FAQs on cloth face coverings in the workplace (OSHA)

Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce
: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Homeland Security, issued an advisory list for local and state leaders to identify workers essential to critical infrastructure to ensure public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. The advisory list is not an exclusive list. Individual jurisdictions should add or subtract essential workforce categories based on their own requirements and discretion. It now identifies distribution center workers, truck drivers, electronic and hardware employees as critical infrastructure workers. The link is to a letter and a graphic updated Dec. 16 (added vaccination info) and Aug. 18 that lists essential workers by industry categories. The latest version provides guidance on how jurisdictions and critical infrastructure owners can use the list to prioritize essential workers’ ability to work safely while supporting ongoing infrastructure operations across the nation.

Guidelines for Opening Up America Again: On Thursday, April 16, President Donald Trump issued a three-phased approach to opening the American economy. He based these guidelines on the advice of public health experts. It includes steps to help state and local officials get people back to work while protecting American lives.

President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: On Monday, March 16, President Donald Trump released guidelines that recommend working from home whenever possible and avoiding social gatherings of more than 10 people. On March 29, the president extended the guidelines until April 30.

What You Should Know About COVID-19 and the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, and Other EEO Laws (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission technical assistance document updated Sept. 8)

COVID-19 Ask the EEOC Webinar (March 27)

Pandemic Preparedness in the Workplace and the Americans with Disabilities Act (Updated March 21)

SBA COVID-19 Disaster Loans in Alabama (Governor’s March 21 news release): Small businesses across Alabama negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic are eligible for assistance under the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Go to the Alabama Small Business Development Center Network EIDL loan page to get some valuable guidance on how to apply for a loan.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Resume for Small Businesses: On June 15, the SBA began accepting new Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) from all eligible small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses. On Saturday, July 11, the SBA closed out the $10,000 Advance Emergency Grants as all $20 billion allocated had been obligated for the advances.

The SBA continues to accept applications for the EIDL program, which offers a 3.75% interest rate for small businesses and 2.75% for not-for-profit organizations, a 30-year maturity and an automatic deferment of one year before monthly payments begin. To learn more about eligibility and apply for an Emergency Injury Disaster Loan, click here.

Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Those with an EIDL application that starts with a “3” do not need to reapply. To check on the status, email with your application number, or call 1-800-659-2955, and ask to speak with a Tier 2 supervisor. If you have been denied, or if the approved amount is below what you need, there is an appeal process. View on-demand webinars on the appeal process and other information provided by the Alabama Small Business Development Center Network. As of July 3 in Alabama, 25,774 EIDL loans had been approved totaling $ 1,374,690,477. EIDL loans are capped at $150,000.

From April 16-June 14, the SBA was unable to accept new applications for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan-COVID-19 related assistance program.

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Alabama Small Businesses Economically Impacted by the Coronavirus (SBA March 21 news release):  The deadline to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan is Dec. 21, 2020.

SBA Alabama Fact Sheet – Economic Injury Disaster Loans 

SBA’s Resource Partners: Reach out to SBA’s resource partners located throughout Alabama if you need assistance with the Economic Injury Disaster Loan application process. Click on Alabama District Office Resource Guide. Resource partners (Small Business Development Centers, SCORE chapters and The Catalyst) are listed beginning on Page 11 and ending on Page 12.

Alabama Small Business Development Center Network has compiled a Guide to Conquering a Business Crisis, a Guide to Business Continuity/Disaster Assistance that includes an emergency plan and a Checklist for Managing in Times of Financial Difficulty. This site also includes information on How to Market During the COVID-19 crisis. Visit Alabama SBDC Network’s COVID-19 Small Business Resource Center.


Health officials ask Alabamians to follow precautions to prevent illness and the spread of disease. Preventative measures include frequent hand-washing, covering coughs and sneezes, not touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, staying home when sick and practicing social distancing.

Anyone with fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell, congestion/runny nose, nausea/vomiting or diarrhea should:

  • Stay home except to get medical care.
  • Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor.
  • With a medical emergency when calling 911, notify the dispatcher about your condition.

Venturing Out? Be Prepared and Stay Safe (CDC website): While there is no way to ensure zero risk of infection, this guidance outlines potential risks and how to adopt different types of prevention measures to protect yourself and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. It includes tips for going to the bank, dining at a restaurant, hosting gatherings and cook outs, using gyms and fitness centers, going to nail salons and traveling overnight. See list of everyday preventive actions and CDC’s running errands considerations for grocery shopping, deliveries and takeout, banking and getting gas.

UPDATED OCT. 5: CDC information about how the COVID-19 disease spreads (CDC website): The virus spreads easily between people. Infections occur mainly through respiratory droplets when a person is in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. Some infections can be spread by exposure to virus in small droplets and particles that can linger in the air for minutes to hours.

FDA warns about hand sanitizers containing methanolDo Not Use List

When You Can Be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19  (CDC guidance)

Keeping workplaces, homes, schools, or commercial establishments safe (CDC graphic)

Grocery and food retail workers (CDC guidance)

Food and grocery pickup and delivery drivers (CDC guidance)

ServSafe Offers Free Courses Related to Food Handling: ServSafe offers three free training videos: Reopening Guidance: COVID-19 Precautions; Delivery: COVID-19 Precautions; and Takeout: COVID-19 Precautions.

The eighth emergency proclamation issued Friday, May 8, protects healthcare providers as well as businesses from the risk and expense of lawsuits associated with COVID-19. As long as covered entities do not act recklessly and operate in a manner that is reasonably consistent with applicable public health guidance, they should be able to avoid COVID-19 liability, under the proclamation. Entities covered under this proclamation include businesses, nonprofits, LLCs, health care providers, educational entities, churches, governmental entities and cultural institutions operating in Alabama, as well as individuals associated with these entities.

Revive Alabama Small Business Grant Program: Cash grants of up to $15,000 to reimburse Alabama small businesses for COVID-19 business interruption expenses funded with $100 million in federal Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars. The application period opened at noon July 16 and ended at midnight July 25. Initial approvals or denials of grant applications were to be issued starting about July 21. Qualifying businesses have 19 or fewer full-time equivalent employees among many other eligibility requirements. Grants will be awarded to qualifying applicants on a first-come-first-served basis until the funds are exhausted. FAQs

LISC Small Business Relief Grants: One individual/small business grants with priority given to entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically under-served places who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital. Nonprofits are ineligible for this pool of relief funding. The next round of applications opens July 27. Info and FAQs

North Baldwin Small Business Relief Fund: A North Baldwin Chamber Foundation fund created to assist small businesses (50 or fewer full-time employees) that have experienced a financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Must have a physical location in the North Baldwin Service area to include – Bay Minette, Stapleton, Stockton, Tensaw, Rabun, Perdido, Pine Grove, Whitehouse Fork and Crossroads; Identifying zip codes include – 36507, 36578, 36562, 36579 and 36550. ​Qualifying applicants can be awarded up to $5,000. The fund began accepting applications April 7. More than $28,675 had been awarded by June 21. Funds are limited, but donations continue to be accepted.

The City of Auburn Working Capital Loan Interest Subsidy Program: Provides an interest subsidy to applicants who have been approved for a loan with a participating lending institution. The main objective is to enable those businesses to remain viable in the current environment through the provision of financial assistance. This program gives the city the potential to provide subsidies supporting up to 160 businesses assuming a maximum amount of $25,000 per loan. FAQs

West Alabama Small Business Relief Fund (Link is to Small Business Financial Assistance page at The Small Business Relief Fund is a Community Foundation of West Alabama fund offered in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama. Bibb, Fayette, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Marengo, Pickens, Sumter or Tuscaloosa county businesses with two to 50 (FTE) employees could be eligible. Click on link to read the criteria and file an application.

Mountain Brook Merchant Relief Fund: A community fund that provides financial help to the most vulnerable locally owned bricks-and-mortar businesses of any category (salons, stores, restaurants, etc.) To apply for funds, email or for the application.  All proceeds for a “Choose Mountain Brook Tee Shirt” available for sale through the Pants Store goes to the relief fund. Direct donations can be made on the One Mountain Brook website. All of the money raised goes directly to merchants.

Montgomery Recover Together Small Business Relief Fund: Provided flexible, one-time grants to small businesses (2 – 25 FTE) in the city or county of Montgomery that had experienced a financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. Applications closed June 15.

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund: Created by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation, this fund provides grants to restaurant industry employees adversely impacted by COVID-19. Applications are temporarily closed due to the volume of requests. The $500 awards are limited to one grant per person. The first award notice went out the third week of April. More than 25,000 grants have been approved.

ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENTS FOR INDIVIDUALS (IRS website):  The payments, also referred to by some as stimulus payments, are automatic for most taxpayers. No further action is needed by taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and most seniors and retirees. Information also available here for non-filers. Individuals can track their payment using the IRS’s Get My Payment tool. In situations where payment status is not available because of a variety of reasons including ineligibility and failure to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019, the app will respond with “Status Not Available.” Get My Payment data is updated once per day, so there’s no need to check back more frequently.

Millions of economic impact payments coming in form of prepaid debit card (news release): The week of May 18, the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS began sending nearly 4 million Economic Impact Payments (EIPs) by prepaid debit card, instead of by paper check.

Alabama’s Income Tax Filing Due Date Moved to July 15 (Link is to governor’s news release): Gov. Kay Ivey and the Alabama Department of Revenue announced Monday, March 23, that the state income tax filing due date is extended from April 15 to July 15. Taxpayers can also defer state income tax payments due on or after April 1 to July 15 without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed, according to the Alabama Department of Revenue. The deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers. Other taxes included in the deadline extension are corporate income tax, the Financial Institution Excise Tax (FIET) and the Business Privilege Tax (BPT). Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the Alabama Department of Revenue to qualify for this automatic state tax filing and payment relief.

>> Revenue Commissioner’s Executive Order pertaining to deadline extensions.
>> Revenue Commissioner’s Executive Order pertaining to composite returns.

Tax Day Moved to July 15 (IRS news release): Early Friday, March 20, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the IRS’ tax filing deadline has been extended three months to July 15.  Taxpayers can defer federal income tax payments due from April 1, 2020, to July 14, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. Mnuchin encouraged taxpayers to file their taxes as scheduled to ensure they get their refund in a timely matter. Most tax refunds are still being issued within 21 days.

Employer Credit for Paid Family and Medical Leave FAQs: Employers who provide paid family and medical leave to their employees may claim a tax credit through Dec. 31, 2020. An employer credit is available to businesses that pay family leave to employees who are unable to work because they must care for a child whose school or daycare is closed due to the coronavirus.

Immediate State Sales Tax Relief to All Restaurants: All businesses currently registered with the Alabama Revenue Department as a NAICS Sector 72 business (those preparing meals, snacks and beverages for immediate consumption) may file their monthly sales tax returns for the February, March and April 2020 reporting periods without paying the state sales tax reported as due. Late payment penalties will be waived for these taxpayers through June 1, 2020.  Businesses must collect and report the state’s 4% state sales taxes, but you will not be penalized for nonpayment until June 1. After the expiration of this temporary waiver, the Revenue Department will work with taxpayers who elected to utilize the waiver program to develop workable payment plans that will allow taxpayers to pay outstanding liabilities for February, March and April 2020, while navigating any other impacts of the coronavirus on their businesses.

State Extends Sales Tax Relief to Some Small Businesses: Small businesses whose monthly retail sales during the previous calendar year averaged $62,500 or less may file their monthly sales tax returns for the February, March, and April 2020 reporting periods without paying the state sales tax reported as due. Late payment penalties will be waived for these taxpayers through June 1, 2020. Similar sales tax relief may be available on a case-by-case basis to other businesses significantly impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the preventative measures being taken to limit its spread in Alabama.

City of Auburn Extends Relief to Businesses Unable to Pay Taxes

MONTGOMERY: Montgomery’s citywide curfew was lifted Saturday, June 20.  The 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily curfew that began at 10 p.m. Friday, March 27, ended June 20, the day after the city made wearing face coverings mandatory. “Wearing face coverings alleviates the need for additional restrictive measures, and lifting the curfew will allow our businesses who operate late hours to maintain their livelihood, pay their employees and provide their goods and services for the people of this community,” Mayor Steven Reed said in a statement.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY: As of 10 p.m Thursday, April 2, all of Montgomery County including the city of Pike Road, joined the city of Montgomery in a daily curfew that lasts from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. each day.

BIRMINGHAM (Link is to City of Birmingham ordinance): The Birmingham City Council unanimously approved a shelter-in-place ordinance Tuesday, March 24. The council has extended the ordinance several times. On May 12, the city removed the 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. daily curfew portion of the shelter-in-place ordinance. The revised ordinance allowed the council to impose a new curfew “if conditions worsen and require stronger measures to further reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

A May 19 amendment keeps in place restrictions on occupancy and social gatherings where social distancing guidelines cannot be met. The ordinance applies to everyone in the city of Birmingham, which is located in both Jefferson and Shelby counties.

BUTLER COUNTY: Beginning Friday, April 3, all of Butler County, including the cities of Greenville and Georgiana, is under a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily curfew. The curfew was set by an April 2 vote of the Butler County Commission. First responders and essential services providers are not subject to the curfew.

GREENVILLE (News release): Resolution 2020-10 of the Greenville City Council  establishes a citywide curfew beginning Friday, April 3. The curfew is from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. daily until further notice. Failure to comply with this order
is punishable by a fine of up to $500 and/or jail time.

THOMASVILLE (Mayor’s proclamation on city’s website): As of Thursday, April 2, the city of Thomasville is under a curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. “The main focus of this curfew is to emphasize everyone needs to stay home unless necessary for your job, to check on a loved one or to go to the store, etc.,” said Mayor Sheldon Allison Day.

JACKSON (Jackson Department of Public Safety public notice posted on city’s Facebook page): As of Friday, April 3, the city of Jackson is under a mandatory curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily with the exceptions of work or unforeseen emergencies. Curfew is in place until April 17 and subject to extension.

TUSKEGEE (Resolution): Starting at 10 p.m. Friday, April 3, the city of Tuskegee will be under a public safety curfew between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily.

BUTLER (Resolution): According to Resolution No. 362 of the Butler Town Council, as of 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, the city of Butler in Choctaw County is under a mandatory curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.

SELMA (Proclamation): Selma Mayor Darrio Melton by proclamation ordered a quarantine for the city of  Selma between the hours of  9 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily. This quarantine begins Sunday, March 29, with no end date specified.

TUSCALOOSA EXECUTIVE ORDER #2 (Link is to executive order): On March 26, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox issued an executive order extending the public safety curfew for Tuscaloosa residents to 24 hours a day. The order was to go into effect at 10 p.m. Sunday, March 29. Provisions within the March 27 state health order that take effect 5 p.m. Saturday, March 28, accelerate portions of the Tuscaloosa curfew. Tuscaloosa’s curfew continues until midnight Saturday, April 11.

Alabama Attorney General’s Guidance for Municipalities on Shelter-In-Place Orders/Quarantines: “Whether or not a municipality is acting within its lawful authority to issue a shelter-in-place ordinance that is more restrictive than similar state orders requires a fact-specific analysis. Municipal governing bodies are urged, to the degree possible, to coordinate with their county boards of health, where applicable, and the state health officer to ensure that the municipal action in question will be supported by, and is not inconsistent or in conflict with, current or impending state actions related to quarantine.”

The number of Alabama deaths and confirmed cases of coronavirus as reported in real time by the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) is the state’s official source. Local reports often are made before those deaths and cases appear on the state website.

ADPH also has a statewide informational hotline and a general information e-mail address to field health-related questions from the public about the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

The toll-free hotline and e-mail address are:

  • COVID-19 General Information – 800-270-7268
    Telephone calls are answered from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily.
  • The COVID-19 General Information Email address –

In addition, a toll-free phone line provides information about available testing sites and hours of operation. This phone number is 888-264-2256. Callers will be asked for their zip code to help locate the site nearest them.

COVID-19 Related Emergency Actions of State Agencies: Emergency rules and other emergency actions taken by state agencies in Alabama’s response to COVID-19. For more information, please contact the agency directly.

COVID-19 Scenarios and Available Benefits 

The statewide emergency proclamation prohibits price gouging and eases transportation restrictions for the movement of emergency supplies throughout the state.

When Alabama experiences a state of emergency, Alabama’s price gouging law is in effect.

ALABAMA’S PRICE GOUGING LAWMakes it unlawful for anyone to raise prices on commodities or lodging by more than 25 percent during the declared state of emergency. To avoid violating Alabama’s price gouging law, figure the price charged for each of the previous 30 days. Add the 30 daily prices, divide by 30, and multiply the price by .25, or 25 percent, to figure the maximum price increase allowed for any one day. The exception is if a wholesale price increases by more than 25 percent and merchants have no choice but to pass along the price increase.

The fine for violating Alabama’s price gouging law can be up to $1,000 per incident. Those who willfully and continually violate the law can be banned from doing business in Alabama.

The state declaration also allows truck drivers delivering supplies and goods to Alabama to exceed the hours of service or spend less time off duty than required by federal law. The waiver only applies to the time a driver is delivering the emergency supplies for up to 30 days after the emergency declaration, or until the declaration ends. Under federal law, a driver may drive only during a period of 14 consecutive hours after coming on duty following 10 consecutive hours off duty. The proclamation loosens that regulation only as it relates to the timely delivery of disaster supplies for the 30 days or less of the emergency declaration.

The national emergency includes “hours of service regulatory relief to commercial vehicle drivers transporting emergency relief in response to the nationwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak” for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. That declaration includes allowing transportation of “food for emergency restocking of stores” as one of the qualifiers for hours of service exemptions. It will remain in effect until the emergency declaration is lifted or April 12, 2020, whichever comes sooner.

Driver License Offices Closed to Public/Online Services Active/STAR ID Deadline Extension
(Link is to ALEA news release): As of Thursday, March 26, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) driver license offices are closed to public access. Staff are on-site to answer phones and assist with online services, including license renewals. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security extended the REAL ID enforcement deadline to Oct. 1, 2021, in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Alabama’s version of the federal REAL ID program is STAR ID, which stands for Secure, Trusted and Reliable Identification. “This deadline extension should relieve some of the wait time at ALEA’s DL offices to obtain a STAR ID during the next several months,” said ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor. Once ALEA’s Driver License Division resumes normal operations, customers may schedule an appointment on the agency’s website to obtain a STAR ID and conduct other driver license business.

Ten Steps All Workplaces Can Take to Reduce Risk of Exposure to Coronavirus
(OSHA poster)

  • Communicate and reinforce safe workplace practices (e.g., hand washing, disinfection)
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces.
    • Provide tissues, no-touch trash cans, hand soap, alcohol-based hand rubs containing at least 60 percent alcohol, disinfectants and disposable towels for workers to clean their work surfaces.
    • Require regular hand washing or using of alcohol-based hand rubs.
    • Post hand-washing signs in restrooms. (Link to downloadable sign provided by Alabama Department of Public Health)
  • Encourage employees who experience symptoms to stay home and isolate sick employees until they can get to medical professionals and/or home,
  • Communicate how absences will be handled (under both absenteeism policies and for purposes of compensation). If you don’t already have one, consider having an emergency sick leave policy specifically for the coronavirus or communicable diseases and communicate that policy with employees.
  • Allow work from home where feasible and practice the social distance of six feet for those who remain on the job.

Employers: Workers at High-Risk for COVID-19 (CDC)

Worker Exposure Risk Chart (OSHA): Categorizes jobs as very high risk, high risk, medium risk and lower risk.






Originally posted at 3:54 p.m. March 9, 2020