In Jefferson County, all non-essential businesses have been closed in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Many people are wondering why Tuscaloosa hasn't taken a similar precaution, and now Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox is offering an explanation.

In a recent Twitter post, Mayor Maddox explained that the current Alabama Constitution does not give the City of Tuscaloosa the authority to close local businesses.

"It is a function of state law and Alabama’s constitutional structure. Decades ago, local legislative acts created the JCHD and the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD). Both JCDH and MCHD have the authority of the state and can exercise it," Maddox said. "For JCDH, under the current mandate of the Alabama Department of Public Health’s (ADPH) designation of COVID-19 being a threat to the health of the public, and with the declaration of Governor Ivey that a public health emergency exists within Alabama, JCHD applied its state authority to close non-essential businesses. For Tuscaloosa, only the ADPH and/or the Governor could order the closing of non-essential businesses."

As such, local businesses in Tuscaloosa can and will remain open, provided they are following the latest order issued by the ADPH. Violating the order from the ADPH could result in criminal charges and/or fines, so it is imperative that Alabamians follow the order.

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