Brian Woodham

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has taken a more cautious, measured approach to reopening Alabama's economy compared to neighboring states like Georgia. 

Taking a data-driven approach and relying on the recommendations of medical experts on reopening the economy and easing Stay at Home health restrictions is the right call for both Ivey and Alabama residents. 

The most significant changes in the new Safer at Home order, which goes into effect at 5 p.m. today, include allowing retail stores to reopen with 50 percent of their normal occupancy, opening Alabama's beaches, and allowing the resumption of elective medical procedures. 

The easing off of some restrictions is a welcome development, although many business owners have expressed frustration that the new order does not go far enough.

For instance, restaurants and bars are still not allowed to host customers for on-premise consumption, much to the dismay of owners, many of whom are struggling to keep their businesses alive. It's also frustrating for the service industry workers who have been thrown into unemployment and are struggling to make ends meet. 

Hopefully, the numbers of new cases of Covid-19 will continue to decline over the coming weeks so that these establishments can get back to "business as usual" as soon as possible. 

Unfortunately, "business as usual" will look far different once restaurants and bars are allowed to reopen their doors to the public. Wearing masks and practicing social distancing will become ubiquitous to being in public for the foreseeable future, at least until a viable vaccine is developed, which is expected to take more than a year. 

While the Covid-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on the human psyche, it has also brought out the best in many of us. 

Workers in many fields, including health care and grocery stores, continue to serve us, without complaint, despite the risk to their health and the health of their loved ones. Churches and food pantries are working hard to meet the increased needs of those in our community who have seen their livelihoods yanked away by the pandemic. City of Auburn employees continue to provide the essential services we depend upon, without interruption. And many in the community have risen to the occasion to volunteer their time and skills to pitch in where they can, like sewing masks for the community. 

It's more important than ever that Auburn residents remain vigilant in practicing social distancing so that their efforts are not in vain. 

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