A Resource for the People on COVID0-19

As the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) makes its way across Alabama and the United States, it is essential that all government officials follow public health experts' recommendations to help ensure a response plan that protects the health, safety, and civil liberties of all. 

The ACLU of Alabama will be watching closely to make sure that the government’s response is scientifically justified and no more intrusive on civil liberties than absolutely necessary. 

Alabama Jails and Prisons

People involved in the criminal legal system face heightened risk of COVID-19 infection, particularly in Alabama where overcrowding in state prisons is the worst in the nation. To limit outbreaks of COVID-19, officials must develop plans quickly in coordination with local public health officials to ensure the safety of incarcerated people, medical staff, and correctional officers.

On March 16, we called on Alabama leaders to release their plans to prevent the spread of COVID-19 inside the prisons, to quarantine and care for any prisoner who shows symptoms, and to ensure all supplies and food remain stocked during this crisis. We also asked them to address how they plan to provide continued staffing in the event of staff shortages due to illness or caring for an ill family member. ADOC staffing is currently at 40 percent. 

On March 17, ADOC released new preventative measures that will be in place regarding visitation, medical treatment, and other changes. We will continue to monitor this situation.

Prisoners do not forfeit their right to adequate, timely care just because they are behind bars. A prison sentence should never become a death sentence when measures could have been taken to prevent it.

Pardons and Paroles

On March 17, the Alabama Bureau of Pardon and Paroles released guidance for probationers and parolees to get information about reporting requirements during the coronavirus pandemic. For more information on supervision over the next few weeks, parolees and probationers should call 1-800-269-5081. They can also email questions@paroles.alabama.gov.

2020 Elections

On March 18, Governor Kay Ivey postponed Alabama primary runoff elections that were scheduled for March 31, 2020 until July 14, 2020. 

Other Resources

This page will continue to provide updates on how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting civil rights and civil liberties in Alabama. We will also be sharing relevant community and statewide news and resources here as well.

If you think you may have symptoms of COVID-19 or have questions about being tested, contact your general healthcare provider to ask about testing. If you do not have a general healthcare provider, contact the Alabama Department of Public Health at 1-888-264-2256. 

Page last updated: May 5, 2020

Government Orders

Q.Government Orders
A.
  • As of April 30, 2020 at 5:00 pm, Governor Kay Ivey issued a statewide Safer-at-Home order that would reopen the state’s economy in phases. This order will expire on Friday, May 15, 2020 at 5:00 pm. [AL.com]
  • As of April 4, 2020 at 5:00 pm, Alabama residents are ordered to stay at home except for “essential activities”. The order will be in effect until 5 p.m. on April 30, where then "a determination shall be made whether to extend this Order — or, if circumstances permit, to relax this Order”. [AL.com]
  • As of March 28, 2020 at 5:00 pm, all non-work related gatherings of 10 people or more, or non-work related gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between persons, are prohibited. Employers are to take all reasonable steps to meet these standards for employees and customers. [WSFA]
  • As of March 19, 2020 at 5:00 pm, all gatherings of 25 people or more, where 6 ft. interpersonal distances can't be maintained, are prohibited statewide. Statewide shutdowns or closures of all schools, beaches, senior citizen gatherings, child care facilities, dine-in restaurants, and bars have also been issued. [Montgomery Advertiser]
  • As of March 17, 2020 at 5:00 pm, all gatherings of 25 people or more are prohibited in Blount, Jefferson, Saint Clair, Shelby, Tuscaloosa, and Walker Counties. Restaurants, bars, breweries and Category 3 food service establishments in those counties are also being asked to stop on-premises consumption of food or drink. The order will be re-evaluated after one week. [Alabama News Network]

Related Content

Q.Related Content
A.
  • 4/7/2020 - Police are Enforcing Public Health Orders, but that Doesn't Make them Public Health Experts [ACLU National]

  • 4/6/2020 - Advocates call for Alabama to release prisoners amid COVID-19 crisis [AL.com]

  • 4/6/2020 - AFJ calls for release of Alabama prisoners following news report that widespread infection and deaths are expected [Alabamians For Fair Justice]

  • 4/5/2020 - 'We need help': Inmates describe prison system unprepared for coronavirus [ABC News]

  • 4/5/2020 - Alabama prison system’s COVID-19 plan anticipates widespread infection, deaths, National Guard intervention [AL.com]
  • 4/4/2020 - Black people over-represented among COVID-19 patients, deaths, UAB doctor says [Alabama Political Reporter]
  • 4/2/2020 - Alabama sharing addresses of coronavirus patients with 911 responders [AL.com]
  • 4/2/2020 - Alabama prisons hold more than 1,100 older people at greater COVID-19 risk [Southern Poverty Law Center]
  • 4/2/2020 - COVID-19 Response: Shrink the Criminal Justice Footprint (ep. 94) [ACLU National]
  • 4/1/2020 - ACLU of Alabama Comment on State Policy of Disclosing COVID-19 Addresses [ACLU of Alabama]
  • 3/31/2020 - Alabama and Massachusetts Are Handing the Addresses of People With Coronavirus Over to Police [VICE]
  • 3/31/2020 - Coronavirus: Gov. Kay Ivey urged to expedite Alabama paroles of older inmates amid outbreak [Montgomery Advertiser]
  • 3/31/2020 - Coronavirus: What powers do Alabama cities have to fight the outbreak? [Montgomery Advertiser]
  • 3/31/2020 - Those “Free” Remote Learning Apps Have a High Cost: Your Student’s Privacy [ACLU of Alabama]
  • 3/30/2020 - Court Blocks Alabama's Use of Emergency Powers to Cut Off Access to Abortion Care [ACLU of Alabama]
  • 3/30/2020 - ACLU and Abortion Providers Sue to Ensure People in Alabama Can Get Critical Abortion Care [ACLU of Alabama]
  • 3/29/2020 - Coronavirus cripples voter registration efforts. Millions could be denied. [NBC News]
  • 3/26/2020 - Montgomery under ‘indefinite’ curfew to fight COVID-19′s spread [WSFA]
  • 3/25/2020 - Alabama’s first coronavirus death confirmed; Jackson County woman dead [AL.com]
  • 3/25/2020 - Alabama abortion clinics deemed essential amid COVID-19 business closures [AL.com]
  • 3/20/2020 - Alabama prisons halt intakes from county jails during COVID-19 outbreak [Alabama Political Reporter]
  • 3/17/2020 - SPLC joins ACLU of Alabama in request for plans to protect jails, prisons from COVID-19 [Alabama Political Reporter]
  • 3/16/2020 - ACLU of Alabama Calls on Leaders to Make Prisons Top Priority in COVID-19 Response [ACLU of Alabama]
  • 3/11/2020 - Keep Calm and Carry on Voting: How to Vote By Mail During the Coronavirus Outbreak [ACLU National]
  • 3/11/2020 - Alabama Department of Corrections’ coronavirus plan is not ready [Alabama Political Reporter]
  • 3/6/2020 - Are Our Prisons and Jails Ready for COVID-19? [ACLU of Alabama]
  • 3/2/2020 - Can We Trust the Government to Respond to the Coronavirus in a Fair and Effective Manner? [ACLU of Alabama]

Utility Actions

Q.Utility Actions
A.
  • Alabama Power - "Due to Alabama’s COVID-19 state of emergency, we will suspend late payment fees and disconnections of service due to non-payment for those impacted by the pandemic. Customers who are affected and have difficulty paying their bills should contact Customer Service by logging into their account or calling 1-800-245-2244."
  • AT&T - "AT&T is proud to support our customers by pledging that, for the next 60 days, we will not terminate the service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer because of their inability to pay their bill due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic." [See full list of pledges by visiting the link.]
  • CenturyLink - "For the next 60 days, we’ve committed to waive late fees and to not terminate a residential or small business customer’s service due to financial circumstances associated with COVID-19. We are also suspending data usage limits for consumer customers during this time period due to COVID-19."
  • Charter Spectrum - "In an effort to ensure Americans have necessary access to online resources, qualifying households with students can get 60 days of free access with a Spectrum Internet account. In addition, Spectrum WiFi hotspots will be open for public use."
  • Comcast - "Comcast is taking steps to implement the following new policies for the next 60 days, and other important initiatives: no disconnects or late fees, pausing our data plan, and Xfinity WiFi free for everyone." [See full list of pledges by visiting the link.]
  • T-Mobile - "Access to unlimited data is more important than ever and we have already taken steps to ensure that ALL current T-Mobile customers on plans that have data are provided with unlimited smartphone data while on the T-Mobile network for the next 60 days. We are also providing additional mobile hotspot data, offering Lifeline partners more data, and increasing the data allowance for schools and students using EmpowerED over that same period of time."
  • Spire - "Because ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees, customers and communities is at the heart of what we do, we've suspended disconnects and late fees until May 1 for residential and business customers. If you're impacted by the Coronavirus and need help with your natural gas service or bill, don't worry. Contact us."
  • Verizon - "Verizon will waive late fees for 60 days from March 16, 2020 to May 16, 2020, and will not terminate service to a customer who's been impacted by the events involving the Coronavirus. If our customers are experiencing a hardship, they should call our customer service team to discuss their situation and available options."

Community Resources and Organizations

Q.Community Resources and Organizations
A.
  • Break for a Plate - Information on free meals from the state of Alabama during school closures (available to any child 18 or younger, no paperwork required)
  • BHAM Strong - A coalition of public, private, and civic leaders and organizations collaborating to serve as Birmingham’s COVID-19 Information and Resource Center
  • Birmingham Mutual Aid - A community-created network of people in the Birmingham area.
  • Montgomery Mutual Aid - A community-created network of people in the Montgomery area.
  • Greater Birmingham Ministries will be continuing uninterrupted service to Jefferson County.

  • The West Alabama Food Bank will be continuing uninterrupted service to Bibb, Greene, Hale, Pickens, Sumter and Tuscaloosa counties.

  • The Community Foodbank of Central Alabama will be continuing uninterrupted service to Jefferson County.

  • The Edmundite Missions will be continuing uninterrupted service to Selma, Alabama.

  • A list of food pantries in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, can be found here.

  • Legal Services Alabama is providing a crisis disaster hotline in English and Spanish. If you need legal help, call 877-393-2333.

  • Alabama State University's Counseling Center is hosting virtual mental health workshops. View the schedule here.

Volunteer Opportunities