TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The city of Tuscaloosa’s order to close bars for two weeks will be lifted next week, but new guidelines are now in place.

Mayor Walt Maddox issued another executive order Thursday that will allow bars in the city to operate at a 50% capacity, not exceed 100 patrons at one time and only allow alcohol to seated customers. It will go into effect Sept. 8 at 6:01 p.m.

This comes as the University of Alabama System announced that nearly 850 students in the past week tested positive for COVID-19.

“Two weeks ago, a surge of coronavirus cases on UA’s campus was threatening the continuation of in-person instruction for the Fall, plus creating potential long term impacts on DCH Regional Hospital. With Fall in serious jeopardy, and at the request of the University, immediate and decisive action was required to protect our healthcare system and thousands of jobs. As a result of our combined efforts, the average number of daily cases, and the overall positivity rates in our community are declining. Although far from over, this positive trend provides an opportunity for a limited reopening of bars which have sacrificed a great deal to protect our healthcare system and economy.” 

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox

The city council this week planned to vote on a stimulus package of about $400,000 that would help support the lost business for bars. The vote will now take place on Sept. 15.

The city of Tuscaloosa says the new order will be re-evaluated daily.