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Kay Kirkland/City of Enterprise
With the Coronavirus threat still looming over the world, the nation, the state and local community, the Enterprise City Council Friday afternoon declared a State of Emergency in the city.
A resolution declaring the emergency was passed during a special called meeting of the council in which security plans, procedures and protective measures association with COVID-19 were discussed. A lengthy executive session preceded the open session in the council chambers where the vote was taken.
The resolution authorizes Mayor William E. Cooper to implement all necessary measures which he sees fit to protect the health, safety, security and well-being of Enterprise and its residents.
Cooper said Friday this is not a time to panic or live in fear, but a time to take precautions and prepare for future possibilities.
The resolution gives the Mayor authority to establish a command center and to hire additional employees should the need arise because of the virus threat. He would be able to implement necessary fiscal measures, establish a curfew and restrict operating hours or close public facilities, including parks.
Council Member Sonya Rich assured residents that the State of Emergency resolution “was not done to heighten your anxieties, but rather hopefully to provide some assurance that we are on top of this situation.”
Rich and Cooper said the city is continuing to monitor the virus situation closely and is in constant contact with health and emergency agencies. At the time of the meeting Friday, 81 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in Alabama, with no cases reported in the Wiregrass at this time.
Nationwide, the Center for Disease Control is reporting more than 15,000 confirmed cases and 201 deaths.
“We are operating in line with what has already been passed down from the nation’s capital and the Governor’s office,” Rich told the slim crowd at the meeting, which was livestreamed for anyone who did not feel safe attending. Those who did attend were spread out across the room in adherence to the 6-foot rule recommended by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Governor’s office.
“We are not in a state of chaos here. Our citizens are conducting themselves in a way that we all should be proud of,” Rich said. “Our department heads are doing everything we could have asked for … to work soundly and in the best interest of the citizens of Enterprise.”
Council President Perry Vickers also said he and the Mayor and council members have been in discussions about how to best handle the challenge of the current health threat. He said the council is “doing everything within our power to protect them and to make sure things in Enterprise flow as normal as possible.”
Miller said the resolution sets in place possible security and safety measures that may need to be enacted later as the crisis develops. Currently, no cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Enterprise or Coffee County.
“I think we need to be proactive,” Miller said.
The resolution gives the Mayor authority to establish a command center, to hire additional employees should the need arise because of the virus threat. He would be able to implement necessary fiscal measures, establish curfew and restrict operating hours or close public facilities, including parks.
“This is an unprecedented time,” Vickers said. “We solicit your prayers and your thoughts, not only for ourselves but for our citizens and our country at large.”