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Jemison Council discusses local COVID concerns

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Managing Editor

The Jemison City Council is developing a plan to provide masks for senior citizen residents, and possibly more residents, following a vote in its July 20 meeting.

Although the Council met on its usual day, the time was changed to 1 p.m. Council members and those in attendance each wore a mask and followed social distancing guidelines.

Councilman George Brasher recommended the city provide masks for the community for those who might not know where to find them. The recommendation came after hearing from community member Sue Webb.

Webb addressed the council with her concerns about rising cases of COVID-19 and stated local residents had expressed confusion to her about information surrounding the pandemic.

Webb holds a Ph.D in microbiology from The University of Alabama, Birmingham and has 30 years of experience researching viruses.

She said some feel “helpless or hopeless like there is nothing really they can do.” However, she said wearing facemasks can lower the rate of COVID-19 infections in the community.

“If there is a big cloud of virus over there, and I don’t have a mask on and I go through that, that is going to be a lot of virus (exposure) and I am going to get sick,” Webb said. “But, if I have a mask on it is going to be fewer … so these masks are working.”

She asked the city to consider supporting an educational campaign about the importance of wearing masks and how it helps. The Council in turn asked Webb for recommendations on what should be included.

Mayor Eddie Reed also mentioned that Gov. Kay Ivey has put a statewide mask requirement in place as a part of the most recent update to the safer-at-home order.

Webb said because every virus is different scientific study cannot give immediate answers to every question.

City Clerk Vicki Potts said she would contact the supplier that she had ordered masks from for city personnel in the past.

“As many as you can get, I would go ahead and order them,” Brasher said.

The possibility of reaching out to community members who might be sewing masks already was also discussed.

Options discussed were to have masks available at the Municipal Complex or deliver masks to senior citizens homes accompanied by a pamphlet of information.

Reed said Jemison has had a testing day at the City Hall and providing masks was another way to help.

Also during the meeting, the Council also approved:

  • Setting the speed limit for Sunset Lane at 15 miles per hour. City Administrator Shannon Welch explained that the road had several houses on it and was a dead-end street.
  • A contract with City-Tech to “provide hardware support” for an annual cost of $5,181.
  • An ordinance stating that the City of Jemison would use the county’s electronic vote counting system for all of its elections. While this is what the city had been doing, Potts said the Alabama League of Municipalities recommended an ordinance be passed so that there is written documentation of the ongoing arrangement.