• U.S.

Alabama’s Easing of Restrictions Has Given ‘a False Sense of Security,’ Says Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed

2 minute read

Cases of coronavirus are on the rise in Alabama, where Gov. Kay Ivey has allowed summer camps, movie theaters, casinos and more to reopen as part of recently expanded “Safer at Home” orders. But not everyone in the state has agreed that reopening has been the best plan, including Montgomery, Ala. Mayor Steven Reed who said on Monday that the loosened restrictions has given people “a false sense of security.”

Speaking on CNN, Reed said the spike in cases was due in part to people deciding on their own that the COVID-19 pandemic is over, and called the easing of restrictions a “mistake.”

“They are ready to get back to their normal way of doing things, and that’s a mistake that we’ve been making over the last few weeks, is we have kind of eased restrictions in this community and across the state,” he said. “We’re still in the middle of a crisis. We’re still battling this pandemic.”

While the relaxed rules allow certain businesses to reopen and permits people to resume parts of their normal lives, Alabama has seen an increase of COVID-19 cases in the last week. Alabama had 14,478 cases, per data from May 24, marking an increase from 13,839 cases reported on May 23, according to the state’s public health department. At least 551 people have died.

Cases of coronavirus have gone up in Montgomery County, which reported 1,188 cases and 32 deaths as of May 25, according to the health department. Per AL.com, Montgomery County added 41 new cases and, along with Jefferson and Mobile Counties, accounted for nearly 50% of the state’s new coronavirus cases. Last week, Reed said the situation in Montgomery was dire, with only one intensive care unit bed left for patients. Now, the city has about six ICU beds, he told CNN on Monday, marking just a “mild improvement.”

“We’re still at a crisis level in this community,” he said.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com