ENTERPRISE, Ala. (WTVY) — Starting Wednesday, April 8, fewer employees will be working at Enterprise city facilities, but Mayor William E. Cooper and city council members assure the public that all necessary city services will continue. All services available before this resolution will be available now. Employees will be working, whether they are on-site or off-site, or otherwise will be on call if needed during their normal work hours.
The Enterprise City Council approved a resolution on April 7 instituting a rotational work schedule designed to reduce the number of employees physically present in city buildings and facilities.
“Let me emphasize – City Hall is not closed,” Cooper said after the council meeting, conducted at noon Tuesday rather than the regular 6 p.m. meeting time.
“But we will be closing some facilities and limiting access by the public to City Hall. We are trying to comply with safety measures set forth by the CDC and the Alabama Department of Public Health. It’s imperative that we do our part to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, so, we are taking these safety precautions to protect the health of our employees as well as the public while at the same time continuing the services our citizens are accustomed to.”
At Tuesday’s council meeting, City Attorney Rainer Cotter said all services available before this resolution will be available now. Employees will be working, whether they are on-site or off-site, or otherwise will be on call if needed during their normal work hours.
The resolution approved unanimously by the council outlines what departments and employee categories are considered essential and non-essential, and contains specific requirements for employees while on site and off site.
“We have a great work force here at the city, and our employees understand the seriousness of this health threat, but they also remain dedicated to serving the public. They are simply having to adjust to these dire circumstances we’re facing,” said Cooper, noting that some employees who deal with the public have already been wearing gloves and face masks, and following 6-foot social distancing practices. “We are trying to keep things as normal as possible under the circumstances.”
Under the resolution, employees will be paid as normal during this time.
State and local health and emergency management officials have said the next two to three weeks will be critical as the number of Coronavirus cases in the state continues to rise. Coffee County had its first confirmed case of COVID-19 April 3.
That number has increased to eight in five days.
Cotter said some of the safety practices may be inconvenient, but are necessary. City officials are working to make business transactions as easy as possible, he said.
Some departments are considered essential: Police, fire, water, engineering/code enforcement, and public works departments. Employees assigned to those departments are not required to follow a rotation schedule and will primarily be working normal hours.
The resolution spells out the new City Hall access policy.
· Access to all doors of City Hall will be closed, except for the middle, main front entrance, and the front exterior handicap-accessible door. One rear door providing access to police personnel will also be unlocked for public entry. Signs are being placed outside to clearly indicate which doors are open.
· Once inside the building, visitors will be restricted to specific areas. For the safety of employees, most access to inside offices will be prevented. Communication will be by phone, by calling 334-347-1211 or another number that will be provided on the notice, or through the door.
· Anyone who requires assistance in person should follow the signage to the department area and someone will safely assist them.
· Police reports will be available for pickup from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. only.
· Water bills can be paid by putting them into the drop box located on the front left side of the building, or in the drive-by drop box in the rear parking lot on the northwest side.
· Building permit applications will be available for pickup and drop-off, with a safety plan implemented.
The Enterprise Airport Terminal will also remain open to the public, in accordance with FAA guidance and with safety practices in place.
The Enterprise Farmers Market outside operation will continue from 7 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Gov. Kay Ivey’s orders deem Farmers Markets as essential as a food source venue.
All vendors will be following the social distancing and safe food handling practices put in place by the market manager. Cooper and city officials encourage everyone to support the farmers and all businesses in Enterprise during this economic crisis, but they also ask shoppers to comply with safety measures and be responsible and courteous when out at open venues like the Farmers Market.
City facilities closed to the public are:
· The Enterprise Civic Center
· The Farmers Market inside meeting space
· The Recreation Center and Moose Hope Gymnasium
· The Public Works Building
· The Water Works Building
· Enterprise Public Library
· City Playgrounds
· City Tennis Courts
· Other recreation activities that involve interaction with another person of closer than 6 feet, or that require sharing sporting equipment or apparatus.
Gov. Ivey last Friday issued a Stay-At-Home order for Alabamians, asking them to stay home unless absolutely necessary. The conditions of that order are listed on the city website at www.enterpriseal.gov, on the Governor’s website at www.governor.alabama.gov or on the Alabama Department of Public Health website at www.alabamapublichealth.gov.
An extensive resource guide has been set up by the Governor’s office at www.altogetheralabama.org.