Commission working on safety plan for future reopening

Published 11:13 am Monday, May 4, 2020

By J.R. TIDWELL / Editor

The Chilton County Commission is putting together a safety plan to help keep both employees and others safe when it comes to COVID-19.

According to Chairman Joseph Parnell, the Commission needs to have a plan in place before the state government begins to reopen government offices to the public.

He and the other commissioners discussed the issue at length during the entity’s meeting on April 28 via phone conference.

Parnell said the Commission may need to call a special work session to hash out the details of the sanitation plan.

It is anticipated that quarantine regulations will lessen around the middle of May. As such, the Commission voted to label all county employees as “essential” and bring them back to work May 1 in order to begin cleaning and preparing their respective locations for the upcoming increase in foot traffic.

“We need to decide how, when and where to clean,” Parnell said. “We need to discuss things like adding plexiglass dividers, having hand sanitizer, wipes and cleaner available. We need to make sure we have PPE (personal protective equipment) like safety masks for our employees.”

Social distancing guidelines dictate leaving at least a 6-feet span in between individuals. As such, Probate Judge Jason Calhoun marked distances on the floor with from his employees’ windows to where visitors should stand, but Parnell said these markings are often ignored.

In order to help protect his employees and enforce the distancing rule, Calhoun ordered tables that will create a physical barrier in between the windows and visitors so the 6-feet rule is always enforced.

Parnell said the CDC is recommending temperatures be taken at the door of both employees and visitors, and the other commissioners discussed how such a feat would be accomplished, and by whom.

Members of the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office working the front door of the courthouse would likely be tasked with administering the checks, and it was pointed out that infrared thermometers would probably work best given their speed of use and lack of physical contact with those being tested.

If such testing began, all employees would be required to enter the building through the front door. Anyone found with a fever would be sent home to reduce the risk of spreading disease to others in the facility.