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Daily News Digest – March 16, 2020

Good morning!
Here’s your Daily News for Monday, March 16.


1. Ivey: state workers should stay home if possible

  • Gov. Kay Ivey on Sunday said that state government agency directors should advise employees to work from home if possible starting today.
  • Ivey’s announcement comes as schools and colleges across the state close in response to the new coronavirus. As of Sunday evening, Alabama had 22 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the Alabama Department of Public Health.
  • Directors should consider implementing telework, flexible work schedules and other techniques for accomplishing necessary functions while minimizing employee exposure to COVID-19, a memo from Ivey said.
  • If working from home is not feasible, the employee should remain away from the workplace and practice social distancing, as appropriate, for the next several weeks.
  • Alabama has more than 29,000 state employees, not including K-12 school and college and university staff. More than 10,000 of them work in Montgomery County.
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.


2. Postpone the election?

  • Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill is seeking an emergency opinion from Attorney General Steve Marshall on whether the state’s March 31 runoff election can be postposed.
  • Currently, neither the Code of Alabama nor the Constitution of the State of Alabama allow for the suspension, delay, or postponement of an election once the date has been set, Merrill said in a letter Sunday night.
  • “The health and well-being of the people of this state are of paramount importance,” Merrill’s letter said. “In order to effectively practice social distancing, as recommended by the President of the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Alabama Department of Public Health, etc., the March 31 runoff election must be postponed.”
  • Merrill’s announcement Sunday night reflects a rapidly developing response in Alabama to the spreading coronavirus. Earlier Sunday, Merrill told Alabama Daily News “nothing has changed” in his earlier statements that the March 31 election would go on as planned.
  • The biggest race on that runoff ballot is the GOP U.S. Senate contest between former U.S. attorney general and senator Jeff Sessions and former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville.
  • Both men’s campaigns on Sunday evening said they were continuing on the campaign trail, but acknowledged an unprecedented scenario that’s subject to change.
  • Read the full story from ADN’s Mary Sell HERE.



3. Superintendent issues school closure protocol

  • State Superintendent of Education Eric Mackey on Sunday said that schools should make “every effort” to provide meals for all children who need them, no matter their families’ income status, during the school closures due to the new coronavirus.
  • Mackey wrote to school administrators and educators in a letter detailing what protocols should be followed to ensure children’s safety and providing ideas on how to continue learning during the three weeks all Alabama K-12 public schools are to be closed.
  • “This is an unprecedented event in our lifetime,” Mackey wrote. “This public health emergency is evolving rapidly, and we will continue to inform you as quickly as information becomes available.”
  • Gov. Kay Ivey on Friday announced that all public schools will be closed after Wednesday March 18 with the goal of reopening on Monday, April 6. Some schools have decided to close starting today.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture approved Alabama’s waiver to provide meals in non-congregated settings and Mackey said in the letter that children can receive meals no matter their income level or status in the free and reduced lunch program.
  • Read the story, including the letter itself, from ADN’s Caroline Beck HERE.



4. Trump: don’t hoard food, supplies

  • President Donald Trump is calling on people to stop hoarding groceries and other supplies as one of the nation’s most senior public health officials urged Americans to act with more urgency to protect themselves and others against the coronavirus. Dr. Anthony Fauci said he would like to see aggressive measures such as a 14-day national shutdown.
  • “You don’t have to buy so much,” Trump said at a news conference. “Take it easy. Just relax.”
  • Trump assured Americans, after speaking with leading grocery chain executives, that grocers would remain open and that the supply chain remained healthy. Speaking at the same White House news conference, Vice President Mike Pence urged Americans to buy only the groceries they need for the week ahead.
  • The comments from the president came Sunday after the government’s top infectious disease expert said he would like to see Americans hunker down even more to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Still, Fauci said travel restrictions within the United States, such as to and from hard-hit Washington state and California, probably would not be needed anytime soon.
  • Officials in Washington were preparing for what was expected to be a long-haul effort to try to stem the virus that has upended life around the globe.
  • “The worst is yet ahead for us,” Fauci said. “It is how we respond to that challenge that is going to determine what the ultimate endpoint is going to be.”
  • Read more about the federal government actions HERE.
  • Read more about how the coronavirus spreads and infects people HERE.


5. Biden: I will nominate a female VP

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders debated each other last night in the latest Democratic debate, each seeking to cast themselves as best-positioned to lead the nation through a global pandemic.
  • Biden pledged Sunday to deploy the United States military to help with recovery efforts and warned that a federal financial bailout may be necessary to stabilize the economy. Sanders leaned into the same domestic policy proposals that have dominated his campaign, arguing that the government-run health insurance system he has long championed would allow the U.S. to respond faster to a health crisis.
  • The former vice president appeared determined throughout Sunday’s contest to keep his focus on the general election, making direct overtures to Sanders’ loyal supporters and committing for the first time to select a woman as his running mate if he becomes the Democratic nominee. After Biden’s announcement, Sanders said he would “in all likelihood” do the same.
  • Read the full story from Julie Pace and Alexandra Jaffe and watch the debate in its entirety HERE.




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ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Ivey: State workers should stay home if possible


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Merrill seeks to postpone runoff election; Sessions, Tuberville continue campaigning


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – State superintendent issues letter to school districts on closure protocol


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – How it spreads, infects: Coronavirus impact comes into focus


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Trump calls on Americans to cease hoarding food, supplies


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – ‘Bigger than any one of us’: Biden, Sanders tackle pandemic


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – Schools, food banks prepare to feed children during coronavirus-forced closure


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS  – NRA endorses Sessions in Senate race


ALABAMA DAILY NEWS – Daily News Digest – March 15, 2020


AL.COM  – In Alabama, sermons play to empty rooms


AL.COM  – Children-only coronavirus testing sites open in 5 Alabama cities


AL.COM  – Wind Creek casino extends closure to March 30 over coronavirus concerns


AL.COM  – Clorox and gloves: Rural Alabama sheriffs, jails still in early stages of coronavirus preparation


AL.COM  – An ‘epidemic waiting to happen’: Homeless community vulnerable to coronavirus


AL.COM  – As coronavirus screening ramps up in Alabama, test kits run short


AL.COM  – ‘I’m made to be here’: Alabama child who lost family in tornado makes painful recovery


AL.COM  – Ammo sales surge at Alabama gun shops


Montgomery Advertiser – Ivey directs Alabama state agencies, employees to telework amid coronavirus crisis


Montgomery Advertiser – Alabama COVID-19 cases rise to 22 by Sunday night: What we know now about coronavirus


Montgomery Advertiser – Coronavirus: Montgomery emergency operation center opens, mayor encourages staying home


YellowHammer News – Merrill wants March 31 runoff postponed due to coronavirus — Does current law allow it?


YellowHammer News – AL-01 GOP candidate Bill Hightower: ‘Very important’ for me to affirm I am going to support Trump with his initiatives


YellowHammer News – AL-01 GOP hopeful Jerry Carl: ‘The free movement’ pushing lurch toward socialism — ‘Everyone gravitates towards anything free’


Tuscaloosa News – Legal opinion sought on any Alabama runoff delay


Tuscaloosa News – Georgia postpones primaries over coronavirus


Tuscaloosa News – Alabama virus cases rise to 22


Decatur Daily – Confirmed coronavirus cases in state jump from 12 to 22


Decatur Daily – Limestone County Schools to close beginning Monday


Decatur Daily – School closures beginning early in several local districts


Times Daily – Shoals officials say they’re following CDC protocol on Covid-19 preparedness


Times Daily – Medical marijuana bill passes Senate


Times Daily – World Championship robotics event cancelled


Anniston Star – Sunny King race, other Anniston events postponed as COVID-19 looms


Anniston Star – College basketball: Auburn out of luck as NCAA won’t release tournament brackets


Anniston Star – Ohatchee High graduate tells of life in locked-down Wuhan, China


BIRMINGHAM WATCH  – PSC Hearing Wraps Up. Decision on Alabama Power’s $1.1 Billion Expenditure Not Likely Soon.


BIRMINGHAM WATCH  – Schools, Food Banks Prepare to Feed Children During Coronavirus-Forced Closure


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Many area schools will close starting Monday, March 16


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – Where to get help during school shutdown


WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham – UPDATE: Shelter in place order lifted for student dorm on UAB campus


WAFF Huntsville – Restaurants in Decatur face employee shortage due to coronavirus


WAFF Huntsville – Hospitals concerned about decrease in blood donations amid coronavirus


WAFF Huntsville – US moves nearer to shutdown amid coronavirus fears


Gadsden Times – Schools move closure date to Tuesday


Gadsden Times – Alabama virus cases rise to 22


Gadsden Times – Oscar Adams fifth-graders read 10 million words


Dothan Eagle – Some Alabama churches call off traditional services as number of coronavirus cases rises


Dothan Eagle – Coronavirus update: ‘Shutdown’ urged, hoarding discouraged, and more COVID-19 steps that will affect you this week


Dothan Eagle – We are dropping the paywall on coronavirus news stories


Troy Messenger – State’s public schools to close for two weeks


Troy Messenger – Local doctors: Wash your hands and avoid crowds


Troy Messenger – Senior centers to close


Andalusia Star News – Andalusia Ballet postpones classes in wake of COVID-19


Andalusia Star News – Adult Activity Center closed until further notice, meals will continue


Andalusia Star News – East Three Notch building ready to go


Opelika-Auburn News – COVID-19 latest: First virus case confirmed in Lee County; 22 virus cases confirmed in state


Opelika-Auburn News – Photos: Scenes from the 1-on-1 debate between Biden, Sanders


Opelika-Auburn News – Coronavirus update: ‘Shutdown’ urged, hoarding discouraged, and more COVID-19 steps that will affect you this week


Daily Mountain Eagle – Product demand amid COVID-19 outbreak


Daily Mountain Eagle – More than 120 arrests made during ‘March Madness’


Daily Mountain Eagle – Sex offender fugitive captured


Trussville Tribune – US moves nearer to shutdown amid coronavirus fears


Trussville Tribune – CDC recommends events with 50 or more people be canceled for next 8 weeks


Trussville Tribune – COVID-19 drive-thru testing moving to Church of the Highlands


Athens News Courier – Athens City Schools: No students at school Tuesday and Wednesday


Athens News Courier – Athens officials offer synopsis of COVID-19 protocols within city


Athens News Courier – U.S.moves nearer to shutdown amid coronavirus fears


Sand Mountain Reporter – Chairman talks COVID-19 preparation at the County Courthouse | Additional sanitation and planning in place


Sand Mountain Reporter – Local schools brace for potential coronavirus impact


Sand Mountain Reporter – Marshall Medical Centers prepares for COVID-19


WSFA Montgomery – Gov. Ivey to authorize agencies to implement telework


WSFA Montgomery – Wind Creek to voluntarily close Alabama properties until March 30


WSFA Montgomery – A woman was robbed, suffered cuts at the Riverchase Galleria in Hoover


WKRG Mobile – Biden, Sanders take part in first one-on-one debate


WKRG Mobile – Ascension Sacred Heart to offer drive-thru coronavirus testing


WKRG Mobile – Bayside Academy moves to virtual learning, on-site classes cancelled


WTVY Dothan – Coronavirus closings and cancellations


WTVY Dothan – Children’s of Alabama implementing new visitation restrictions


WTVY Dothan – Alabama runoff could be delayed. Problem is that may be against the law.


WASHINGTON POST  – Federal Reserve slashes interest rates to zero as part of wide-ranging emergency intervention


WASHINGTON POST  – Spiking U.S. coronavirus cases could force rationing decisions similar to those made in Italy, China


WASHINGTON POST  – Biden pledges he’ll pick a female running mate, Sanders says he likely will in debate under the shadow of coronavirus


NEW YORK TIMES  – Biden and Sanders Fight Over Policy and Records in Head-to-Head Debate


NEW YORK TIMES  – Trump Says He’s ‘Strongly Considering’ Pardoning Flynn


NEW YORK TIMES  – Airports Reel as New Coronavirus Screening Goes into Effect

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