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Jemison Council approves COVID-19 response measures

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The City of Jemison has taken steps to protect employees and the public in light of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.

During a scheduled meeting on March 16, Mayor Eddie Reed read a statement outlining some of the measures the city has taken and other plans were presented by Deputy Chief Marc McMinn and City Clerk Vicki Potts.

“I don’t think any of us understand the full impact of this thing (coronavirus),” Reed said. “No one does. We are wrestling with this, but we’ve got to come together (on a plan of action).”

He said the city is not waiting to react to the crisis but is being proactive in planning.

The Jemison library, auditorium and city park are closed to the public at this time.

“The Jemison City Hall will have restricted access to citizens, requiring citizens to handle business through the drive through window, including water bills,” according to a press release.

Potts said water bills can also be paid online or through the drop box.

Plans for keeping multiple workers from getting sick in the same department had already been put in place prior to the meeting. Water maintenance department supervisor Steve Langston had approached the mayor with concerns about multiple employees being exposed to the virus if one employee in the department got it. Langston developed a plan where employees are limiting close contact in groups by not eating together and working in separate small groups.

“We are being proactive,” Reed said.

Additional measures taken by city hall staff include using gloves, hand sanitizer and disinfectant spray. Items used by multiple people are being sprayed with disinfectant after each person uses them, and employees are refraining from using anyone else’s desk and office supplies.

The police department is also regularly using gloves and hand sanitizer as phase one of a response plan. Additional measures would be taken if the plan reaches phase two or three. If an officer is required to be quarantined, the Jemison Police Department and the Thorsby Police Department would work together to respond to calls as needed. McMinn said this would not change the court jurisdiction in which a case was tried.

“We are going to assist them,” McMinn said. “They are going to assist us if it comes to that point.”

City hall staff are also considering work-from-home options.

Residents needing assistance are encouraged to call City Hall at 205-688-4491 with questions, rather than stopping by.

Statements have been released by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Governor’s Office have recommended that people refrain from meeting in groups larger than 25, especially in Jefferson and surrounding counties.