COVID-19, One Year Later: an Alabama timeline

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It’s hard to believe that Alabama has been dealing with COVID-19 for a year now. That time has some how flown by and dragged on and on and on.

Here’s a look at our year living in a pandemic.

January 21, 2020

Big Picture: First case of the Wuhan coronavirus is confirmed by the CDC. The first case was identified in a man from Washington state who had just returned from China.

February 27, 2020

Alabama: Alabama officials and medical professionals from across the state held press conferences across the state to reassure residents that preparations were underway, in case COVID-19 came to Alabama.


March 2, 2020

Alabama: The Alabama Department of Health held their first news conference to address COVID-19 concerns and explain what is known about the virus.

Big Picture: The first two deaths attributed to coronavirus have been reported in the state of Washington. Almost 90 cases have been reported in the U.S. Georgia reports their first cases of COVID-19.

March 5, 2020

Big Picture: Tennessee reported its first case of COVID-19.

March 6, 2020

Alabama: Two students at Jacksonville State University were exposed to coronavirus while visiting Georgia. Governor Kay Ivey forms a coronavirus taskforce with individuals from both the private and public sectors, out of an abundance of caution.

March 11, 2020

Alabama: Those who were self-quarantining had the go-ahead to cast absentee ballots for the run-off election between Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville for the Republican nomination for the Senate race in November.

Big Picture: The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson tested positive, they entered quarantine in Australia. NBA suspended the rest of the 2020 season.

The road to the entrance of Walt Disney World has few cars Monday, March 16, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios were closed along with other theme parks around the state to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

March 12, 2020

Alabama: Several Alabama universities announced they are switching to online instruction only. Alabama lawmakers approved funds for the ADPH to expand testing services. The SEC and SWAC canceled sports for the season.

Big Picture: The NHL paused its season and Disney World and Universal studios both closed with a plan to reopen at the end of March.

March 13, 2020

Alabama: The state has its first confirmed cases of COVID-19. A man in Montgomery County who had recently traveled back from Illinois is credited as the state’s first case, he was quickly followed by four other confirmed cases. Governor Ivey also declared a State of Emergency.

Big Picture: Six Flags Over Georgia announced its closure until at least the end of March.

March 16, 2020

Alabama: Alabama cases reached 29, multiple cities declared States of Emergency including Huntsville, Madison, and Birmingham.

Big Picture: Senator Mitt Romney of Utah first proposed a $1,000 payment to adults as a COVID response measure. NASCAR postponed the race at Talladega and all other races before the first week of May.

March 17, 2020

Alabama: 78 state-owned ABC liquor stores across the state closed, those that remained open had restrictions on hours and number of customers allowed in the store at a time. The SEC also announced the cancelation of all remaining competitions.

Big Picture: Major retailers such as Apple, Bath & Body Works, GameStop, Kohl’s, Yankee Candle, closed stores around the country and in some cases the world. Many that remained open did so with adjusted hours.

March 18, 2020

Alabama: The primary runoff election between Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville was rescheduled for July 14th.

Big Picture: The US-Canadian border is closed to non-essential travel as the death toll in the US reaches 100.

March 19, 2020

Alabama: Governor Ivey issued a public health order which banned indoor dining, restricted visitors at hospitals and nursing homes, closed beaches, delayed elective dental and medical procedures, banned gatherings in groups of 25+ people, banned in-person learning, among other things. Also, Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall activated Alabama’s price gouging law.

The governor’s full public health order issued that day can be found here.

Big Picture: The US State Department advised citizens not to travel abroad and those outside of the country to return home as soon as possible due to coronavirus.

March 20, 2020

Alabama: Alabama applied for a waiver with the Department of Education to cancel standardized tests for the school year.

Big Picture: The tax deadline was moved to July.

March 21, 2020

Big Picture: The US death toll reached over 300 and the confirmed cases surpassed 23,000

March 27, 2020

Alabama: Reported 3 deaths attributed to COVID-19.

Big Picture: President Trump signs the $2.2 trillion CARES Act into law, which increased jobless benefits, approved $1,200 stimulus checks for adults, created tax breaks and loan programs, etc.

March 29, 2020

Big Picture: The CDC issued a domestic travel advisory for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut and around 2/3 of Americans were under some kind of stay at home order.

March 30, 2020

Alabama: President Trump declared COVID-19 pandemic a major disaster in Alabama, this declaration included providing federal funds to local governments and some non profits in the state.


April 3, 2020

Alabama: Governor Ivey issued Stay at Home Order which went into effect on April 4th. The order stated, “that ever person is ordered to stay at his or her place of residence unless they are performing any ‘essential activities.'” The order had an expiration date of April 30, 2020.

The full Stay at Home Order can be found here.

Big Picture: The conversation about homemade face masks started moving to the forefront of conversation.

April 5, 2020

Alabama: Liberty Baptist Church in West Blocton hosted a drive in Palm Sunday service where members stayed in their cars. Many other churches streamed their Palm Sunday services online.

April 17, 2020

Alabama: The Alabama Department of Corrections reported inmates tested positive with coronavirus for the first time, two at St. Clair County Correctional Facility in Springville and one at Bullock Correction Facility in Union Springs.

April 18, 2020

Big Picture: Walmart announced that workers at all of their stores must wear masks at work.

April 28, 2020

Alabama: The Birmingham City Council approved a mask ordinance that applied to anyone over the age of two.

Big Picture: JetBlue became the first major airline to require passengers to wear masks on flights.

April 30, 2020

Alabama: The Stay at Home Order expired, and the Safer at Home Order took effect. The Safer at Home Order allowed some retail stores to open at 50% capacity but kept many other businesses deemed “high risk” like movie theaters, nightclubs, and gyms closed. The new health order allowed the beaches and some medical services to reopen. It limited group sizes to no more than 10 people.


May 8, 2020

Alabama: Governor Ivey extended the State of Emergency another 60 days. This was the first time an extension had been used since the BP Gulf oil spill in 2010 and the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak. A few additions were also added to the State of Emergency including protection for health care and businesses from frivolous lawsuits, “based on actions they took or failed to take as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

May 15, 2020

Alabama: The Alabama Supreme Court allowed for in-person hearings to resume but kept jury trials suspended until September. The Tennessee Valley Authority reopened recreation areas and dam reservation campgrounds.

May 16, 2020

Big Picture: J.C Penny filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. They joined Neiman Marcus, J. Crew, and Stage Stores in filing for bankruptcy reorganization.

May 21, 2020

Alabama: Governor Ivey announced a revised Safer at Home Order. Entertainment venues, educational institutions, child daycare facilities, summer camps, and sports activities were able to reopen, they had to follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines. Unemployment numbers reached a record high at over 500,000 claims filed since the start of the pandemic.

May 29, 2020

Big Picture: The US death toll reached over 100,000. At the end of May the United States had the highest death total and the highest number of cases in the world. The Boston Marathon was held virtually after officials decided to cancel the event. Runners from around the country ran in their homes, neighborhoods, home states in September during the original race dates.


June 10, 2020

Alabama: Birmingham extended its mask ordinance through July 3rd.

June 16, 2020

Alabama: ADOC reported it’s fourth inmate death related to COVID-19 as the state saw the highest two-week increase of cases since the pandemic began. At least 131 staff members had self-reported and 43 inmates had tested positive.

Big Picture: The travel restriction for non-essential travel between the US and Mexico border was implemented on March 21st was originally set to expire on June 22nd. The restriction was extended another 30 days to July 31st.

June 17, 2020

Big Picture: Canada and the US agreed to extend their agreement to keep their border closed to non-essential travel to July 21 during the coronavirus pandemic.

June 30, 2020

Alabama: Governor Ivey extends her Safer at Home order for the third time, the new expiration date was set to July 31st.

Amended Safer At Home Order

Big Picture: The European Union reopened its borders to travelers from 14 countries but US tourists were not among those given permission.


July 2, 2020

Alabama: Ivey extended the State of Emergency for the second time, the end date was set to September 9th.

July 3, 2020

Big Picture: Major League Baseball canceled the 2020 All-Star game that was set to be played at Dodgers Stadium. The 2021 All-Star game is set to be played at Atlanta’s Truist Park, home to the Braves since 2017.

July 8, 2020

Alabama: The governor announced the process for small business to apply for a portion of $100 million in grants from Alabama’s CARES Act funding. Businesses could have received up to $15,000. Ivey also said she wasn’t in favor of a statewide mask ordinance.

Big Picture: United States set new single-day record with over 60,000 new COVID-19 cases.

July 9, 2020

Big Picture: Disney World announced it would be reopening and Japanese officials asked that on roller coasters you scream inside your heart to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

July 15, 2020

Alabama: Governor Ivey added a mask mandate to Safer at Home order, the new requirement called for people to wear a covering over their mouth and nose in public places within 6 feet of people and where there are gatherings of 10 or more people. Alabama’s ABC board extended emergency curbside alcohol sales.

Big Picture: Walmart and other national retailers asked customers to avoid using cash and switch to card payments only. A coin shortage occurred due to a supply chain disruption in the early months of the pandemic.

A worker moves among cut-outs of fans before Game 2 of a baseball National League Division Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Miami Marlins Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

July 23, 2020

Alabama: Several school systems throughout the state announced their reopening plans and many plans involved starting the school year with remote learning.

Big Picture: The MLB season started games with no fans in the stadiums, some ball clubs got creative and had cardboard cutouts of fans filling the seats.

July 29, 2020

Alabama: Governor Kay Ivey extended the state’s Safer at Home order to Aug. 31 and announced a new requirement for masks in schools and colleges in the state to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


August 3, 2020

Alabama: Schools planned a mix of traditional and virtual learning options as school years started. They did so with a variety of safety protocols in place as school leaders tried to manage educational expectations, along with health concerns.

August 14, 2020

Big Picture: The CDC announced the results of studies that showed people who had tested positive for COVID-19 had about three months of antibody protection.

August 22, 2020

Alabama: Alabama High School Athletic Association gave guidance to schools after the first football games of the school year. It included the wearing of masks and more social distancing by players and coaches on the sideline, as well as spectators in the stands.

August 25, 2020

Alabama: The University of Alabama reported over 500 positive cases on campus, while Auburn reported over 200 cases.

August 27, 2020

Alabama: Safer at Home Order extended through October 2nd.


September 30, 2020

Alabama: This Safer at Home order extension included one specified difference. That change was specifically for hospitals and nursing homes. The order now said patients and and residents would now be allowed visits from one caregiver or visitor at a time.


October 2, 2020

Big Picture: President Trump tested positive for COVID- 19 and was taken to Walter Reed Military Hospital for treatment. First Lady Melania Trump also tested positive. Vice President Pence was tested and his results were negative.

October 12, 2020

Big Picture: Several universities around the country announced that they would waive ACT and SAT requirements for the fall 2021 semester.

October 15, 2020

Alabama: The Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons both closed down their facilities within a few days of each other due to high positive COVID test results.


November 3, 2020

Big Picture: Election Day

November 5, 2020

Alabama: The revised health order faced criticism from health experts across the state. The new order did away with the 50% occupancy limit at gyms, restaurants, and retailers.

November 16, 2020

Big Picture: US confirmed coronavirus cases hit 11 million. Confirmed cases jumped from 10 million to 11 million in just 6 days.

November 17, 2020

Big Picture: More than 1,000,000 children diagnosed with COVID-19 throughout the pandemic, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

November 18, 2020

Big Picture: State and federal officials asked people to stay home for Thanksgiving as US deaths climbed over 250,000.


December 1, 2020

Alabama: There were more COVID-19 patients in Alabama’s hospitals at the beginning of December than there were at any other point of the pandemic. 1,717 patients hospitalized in 104 reporting hospitals, which was 100 patients more than the state’s peak hospitalizations of 1,613 back on August 6.

December 8, 2020

Alabama: The University of Alabama in Birmingham started to recruit retired nurses to come back into the field to give frontline workers more support.

90 year old Margaret Keenan is the first patient in the UK to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. (Jacob King/Pool via AP)

Big Picture: Margaret Keenan, a 90-year-old grandmother, became the first person in the world to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as the UK started giving 1st doses.

December 10, 2020

Alabama: Deaths in the state reached over 4,000.

December 11, 2020

Alabama: The Alabama Department of Health followed CDC guidance and dropped the exposure quarantine period days to 10 days instead of 14.

Big Picture: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine produced by New York-based Pfizer and German-based BioNTech. The Pfizer vaccine became the first vaccine approved for use in the US.

December 14, 2020

Alabama: The first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Alabama. The doses were then shipped to 15 different sites across the state. Front line workers will receive the vaccine first.

December 18, 2020

NEWARK, DE – DECEMBER 21: President-elect Joe Biden receives a COVID-19 Vaccination (Photo by Joshua Roberts/Getty Images)

Big Picture: The FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization for the Moderna vaccine, it became the second approved vaccine in the US.

December 21, 2020

Alabama: The first shipments of the Moderna vaccine began to arrive in the state. Governor Ivey received her first dose of the vaccine.

Big Picture: President-elect Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden both received their first doses of the vaccine.

December 27, 2020

Big Picture: President Trump signed the second stimulus package of $900 billion into law, included $600 COVID relief payment for adults.

December 29, 2020

Alabama: ADPH said that over 20,000 people had been vaccinated so far.


January 8, 2021

Alabama: ADPH opened vaccine hot line for people at least 70-years-old to call and be put on a waitlist for the COVID-19 vaccine. The hotline received more than 1 million calls in the first 24 hours it was operational.

January 20, 2021

Alabama: Governor Ivey extended the Safer at Home order again, a new end date was set as March 5th.

Big Picture: President Joe Biden sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.

All around New Orleans, thousands of houses are being decorated as floats because the coronavirus pandemic has canceled parades that usually take place on Mardi Gras. (AP Photo/Janet McConnaughey)

January 27, 2021

Alabama: ADPH confirmed 3 cases of the UK COVID-19 variant had been found in Alabama.

Big Picture: Mardi Gras parades were canceled in cities across the south, residents in New Orleans decided to decorate their front porches like they would have a float.

January 30, 2021

Big Picture: The CDC issued a federal mask mandate for those on airplanes, mass tansit, taxis, subways, taxis, and ride-shares.


February 4, 2021

Alabama: Some Walmart and Sam’s Club locations became available as vaccination sites in the state.

February 5, 2021

Alabama: Several North Alabama health departments reported they were out of vaccine, while the ADPH had at least 1.5 million people on their waitlist. Eight sites in the state hosted mass vaccination events.

February 7, 2021

Big Picture: Super Bowl Sunday

February 8, 2021

Alabama: ADPH added people ages 65-74, teachers, grocery store workers, post office workers, public workers, and several other groups to the eligibility list for the COVID vaccine.

February 15, 2021

Alabama: Vaccine clinic across North Alabama closed due to a winter storm moving through the area. Appointments were rescheduled giving priority to those residents in need of their second dose.

February 21, 2021

Big Picture: President Biden announced that he aims to have all eligible adults vaccinated by the end of the summer.

February 22, 2021

Alabama: The Alabama Department of Mental Health has renewed a program to help Alabamians cope with COVID-19 related stress. A federal grant to the Alabama Department of Mental Health, Alabamians can reach out to a trained professional if they’re feeling overwhelmed.

Big Picture: The US topped 500,000 COVID-19 deaths.

February 24, 2021

Big Picture: Vaccine shipments across the country were delayed due to February’s winter weather storm that affected many states.

February 25, 2021

Alabama: ADPH asked residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 to take a survey in the hope that they could learn more about the virus and how it spreads.

February 27, 2021

Alabama: The state has fully vaccinated just over 7% of the adult population. ADPH reports the state has administered 869,165 total doses, including 595,275 of one dose and 272,494 of two doses.

Big Picture: Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine received emergency approval from the FDA. It became the third vaccine approved for use in the United States.


March 4, 2021

Alabama: Governor Ivey announced the mask mandate will remain in place until April 9th, but no later than that. She also announced new visitation rules to hospitals and nursing homes, as well as doing away with limits on the size of parties at restaurants.

Big Picture: The governors of Texas and Mississippi have announced an end to the mask mandates in their states.

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