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Alabama strip clubs reopening under COVID-19-prevention guidelines are wrestling with a question that was seldom top-of-mind before the global pandemic: How close is too close?
The adult entertainment venues, along with businesses such as bowling alleys, concert halls, theaters, performing arts centers and casinos, were allowed to reopen their doors under an order from Gov. Kay Ivey as of 5 p.m. on Friday, May 22, as long as they follow strict safety measures.
Among them are regular disinfection of frequently used surfaces, wearing face masks and keeping six feet of space between people who aren't from the same household, according to the executive order.
While such guidelines may seem like anathema for strip clubs as they existed before March, businesses are trying to adapt, according to AL.com, an Alabama news portal affiliated with traditional media organizations such as the Birmingham News.
Among them are The Gentleman’s Club in Attalla and the Empire Gentleman’s Club in Birmingham.
“Everybody stays six feet apart and we only seat a couple to a table, and they have to be with the same group,” a manager at The Gentleman’s Club told the outlet. “They have to come in together.”
As for lap dances? That's a question managers at both establishments were unable to answer.
“I don’t answer questions like that,” said a Gentleman’s Club manager. “I’m sorry.”
At Empire, the general manager told AL.com that he doesn't make that call.
“That would be up to either the regional supervisor or the owner if they want to go down that road,” the general manager said while noting that the club is "doing quite a bit of social distancing in the bar, at the bar itself and around the stage" as well as strengthening its sanitation procedures.
"But as far as any distancing and dances being available or not, I don’t have that answer," he said.