– Civil liberties and coronavirus safety: Some say Alabama is going too far

Laura Lane

Laura Lane

Alabama Libertarian Party chair Laura Lane was quoted in an article on, the website of the Birmingham News, the city’s main newspaper, on March 24, 2020.

Alabama businesses, employees, and consumers are scrambling to adjust to closed schools and restaurants, cancelled sports seasons, work-from-home instructions and other disruptions brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Private citizens and organizations voluntarily initiated some of the shutdowns to reduce the risks of catching and spreading COVID-19. But others come with some force – from emergency orders issued by state government officials, orders that the attorney general’s office says carry the weight of law.

And that doesn’t sit well with some.

The chair of the Libertarian Party of Alabama, Laura Lane, said government officials should be handing out recommendations, not mandates, when it comes to how businesses respond to the pandemic. While public officials can control how government entities operate, they should not be able to order private business and property owners to close their doors and keep people out, she says.

“Individuals are responsible for their own health, meaning it is up to an individual to take appropriate precautions to not catch or spread any illness, not just COVID-19,” Lane said in an email in response to questions about public health orders on the pandemic. “No one has the right to make health decisions, among other things, for you.”

Business owners have reasons to take precautions during the pandemic without being told, Lane said.
“It’s in the best interest of private business owners to ensure their employees and their facilities are safe or risk losing employees and money from sales/services,” Lane said. “Government and other health organizations should make recommendations, but ultimately it’s up to the private sector whether to follow those or not.”

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