Senator Gudger: Alabama Senate Passes Bill to Keep Businesses, Churches Open During Future Pandemics

By Garlan Gudger

Says if a liquor store or a Walmart can be open during a pandemic, churches and small businesses should be able to remain open too

“This has been an extremely difficult year for people across our state. … But one of the most disappointing aspects of this entire crisis has been the countless small businesses being forced to close their doors to their customers, and churches and religious institutions being told they cannot meet and worship in person, while businesses ranging from Walmart to liquor stores were given free rein to continue to operate and carry out business as usual. This bill ensures this will never happen again in Alabama.” – Senator Garlan Gudger

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Senator Garlan Gudger (R-Cullman) today released the following statement after legislation he sponsored with Representative Jamie Kiel (R-Russellville) to ensure that businesses and churches who follow COVID-19 guidelines during a pandemic can stay open passed the Senate.

“This has been an extremely difficult year for people across our state. Many Alabamians have suffered from and even lost loved ones from this virus, people have had to go extended periods of times without seeing loved ones, schools have been cancelled, and many parts of life that we hold dear have been put on hold,” Gudger said. “One of the most disappointing aspects of this entire crisis has been the countless small businesses being forced to close their doors to their customers, and churches and religious institutions being told they cannot meet and worship in person, while businesses ranging from Walmart to liquor stores were given free rein to continue to operate and carry out business as usual. This bill ensures this will never happen again in Alabama.”

“This legislation ensures that small businesses in future pandemics won’t be told that they aren’t essential enough to stay open while others are. I appreciate my colleagues in the Senate and the House for working together in a bipartisan way to get this bill passed. The people of Cullman have asked for it. The people of Alabama have asked for it. And now Alabamians can rest assured that in any future public health outbreaks like this the people of our state are protected,” Gudger concluded.

Representative Kiel said that he was proud to see this legislation pass the Senate today:

“I was proud to see this important legislation I sponsored in the House pass the Senate today. This bill creates a level playing field for all businesses so that if one business can be open under certain guidelines that are sent down by the governor, then all businesses could be open under those same guidelines,” Kiel said. “Throughout this pandemic, we have seen businesses, both small and large, forced to close down while their customers flocked to big box stores that were allowed to remain open. And while institutions such as liquor stores were allowed maintain business as usual, churches were forced to close their doors to their congregations. This legislation gives Alabamians confidence that all businesses and religious institutions who follow proper guidelines will be able to stay open in future public health outbreaks.”