Madison business appreciates federal coronavirus guidance, waiting for state plans
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Another step toward resuming a normal pace of life was displayed on Thursday when the White House Coronavirus Task Force unveiled its three-phase guidelines for states to reopen their economies.

President Trump discussed the guidelines on a conference call with the states' governors. Governor Ivey, who was also part of the call, said earlier in the week that she will be guided in part by the recommendations of a six-member committee who also serve on the larger coronavirus task force.

Austen Webber mans a curbside bar for customers to purchase to-go beers from Rocket Republic Brewing Co.
Austen Webber mans a curbside bar for customers to purchase to-go beers from Rocket Republic Brewing Co.

Austen Webber, the head brewer of Rocket Republic Brewing Company in Madison said he is encouraged by having federal guidelines that will help inform states.

"Do we see the light yet? I'm not sure, but I think the way to finally navigate through this tunnel and slowly start to reopening is something that started today," said Webber.

Amid the three-phase plan, phase two would allow bars to "operate with diminished standing-room occupancy." This phase also allows for gyms to reopen with "strict physical distancing and sanitation protocols" and for schools and organized youth activities as well, among other provisions.

However, with many districts already involved with various distance learning programs, school systems like Madison County Schools and Huntsville City Schools said they won't be returning students to classrooms this school year.

"The decision to close was not made in isolation, neither will the decision to open be done in isolation," said Madison County Schools Superintendent Allen Perkins.

"We are following the guidance of our state superintendent, Dr. Eric Mackey. He has been a tremendous leader during this time and we will continue to call upon both him and his team at the Alabama State Department of Education down in Montgomery as far as what that will look like for K-12 education," said Craig Williams, a spokesman for Huntsville City Schools.

Webber said he is looking forward to receiving further guidance from Montgomery and hopes the next timeline they receive is one that they the can rely on.

"We just want to be open. We're just so looking forward to being open again," said Webber.

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