As we approach the end of the month, the current directives and public health orders established to combat the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic will begin to change in some form. We must continue to follow all the regulations that are put in place. These orders prioritize the health and safety of all Alabamians and are an imperative part of the process in allowing us to return to more normal day-to-day routines and activities. Governor Kay Ivey implemented a statewide stay-at-home order earlier this month that is set to expire on Thursday, April 30. Please make sure you are knowledgeable about what these stay-at-home guidelines entail, as well as the social distancing guidelines issued by the Administration.
The Coronavirus pandemic has drastically impacted the health of hundreds of thousands of Americans. This crisis has also affected the economy of our great nation. Before the COVID-19 outbreak hit the United States, we were seeing record low unemployment rates statewide and nationwide compared to the last 50 years. The resources and various programs in place are to ensure this pandemic does not ruin this great progress. Congress this week passed additional legislation that provides critical support for our hospitals, COVID-19 testing capacities, and replenishes funding of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) under the CARES Act and additional resources in disaster loans.
We all want to see the American economy continue to boom, but we also need to see major improvements surrounding the health and safety of individuals in our communities during these unparalleled times. By adhering to all guidelines whether they remain the same or enact an element of change, we are each doing our part in protecting ourselves and others around us. Following proper protocols will help determine how we all progress to fight this virus and the economic impacts it has brought with it.
Let's be sure to remember as we do our part by staying home, there are many Americans who are selflessly serving on the frontlines every day, specifically our healthcare workers. We recently celebrated Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, or Lab Week, honoring the work of lab and medical professionals across the country. These men and women are working around the clock to treat Coronavirus patients, research potential treatments and therapies, and develop vaccines to fight this virus. I would like to give a very special "thank you" to all those involved in combatting the spread of COVID-19. I am hopeful that the steadfast efforts of Alabamians and the American people will lead us to conquer the many challenges COVID-19 has brought upon us.