The city of Birmingham has extended its shelter-in-place order until April 30th in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The city council passed the extension Friday, the day the original order would have expired. The measure requires residents to stay home except for essential activities such as buying groceries, seeking medical care, working for an “essential” business or exercising.
“People need to remember that people are dying, that this has the potential to continue to spread,” Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin says. “If you can’t take this serious[ly] and police yourself, then we will gladly assist and help you.”
Woodfin says law enforcement has not fined or ticketed anyone since the order went into effect. But, he adds, people were congregating in city parks the previous weekend in violation of social-distancing practices that require individuals to stay six feet apart.
The city has now restricted parks to “solitary activities” – only, including walking, running or biking. Barricades have been placed across the entrances to some parks to prevent people from parking vehicles and gathering.
“If they cannot comply with this order, we will take the necessary step to shut our parks down,” Woodfin says.
Big-box stores remain open under the order, but Woodfin says they too must abide by social distancing rules, which will be enforced by police if necessary.
“I am convinced that if we attempt to tiptoe around this, skirt around this ordinance … we will have to extend ourselves in this shelter-in-place,” Woodfin says.