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Heflin mayor encourages residents to not let up in anti-virus measures

Rudy Rooks

Heflin Mayor Rudy Rooks at Heflin City Hall on Monday.

HEFLIN The Alabama Department of Public Health was reporting a total of 1,980 cases of the COVID-19 virus in the state Monday afternoon, with nine of those cases in Cleburne County.

Rudy Rooks, Heflin’s mayor, said he hopes the low number is due to county residents taking the recommended precautions to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

“I think that’s great, it’s very commendable for our community to hold that number down. I believe what we’re doing is working,” Rooks said on Monday.

“But we’ve got to continue, we don’t need to let up at this point. We’ve got to continue to do this probably through April 30,” said Rooks.

Rooks said he had a staff meeting with city department heads to discuss Gov. Kay Ivey’s shelter-in-place order which went into effect on Saturday.

“At this point with it now being an order that’s been put out by the public health and by the state, we can now arrest and issue citations if we see someone violating,” Rooks said.

The mayor said that Heflin is by no means going to turn into a police state.

“It just gives us the authority now to intervene if someone is violating that order. I think everyone in the community is following it, everyone I’ve seen are very conscious about it and personally I feel like we are making a difference,” Rooks said. 

Rooks said that the City Council work session scheduled for Tuesday night has been postponed to next Tuesday. Among items of business will be a public hearing on the matter of rezoning property along Interstate 20 to satisfy a requirement from the Alabama Department of Transportation concerning the placement of a billboard.

Rooks said that if a crowd shows up, the meeting may be moved to another location to satisfy requirements of six feet of social distancing between individuals. 

Rooks said the city’s senior center is still closed but seniors who are able to get out can pick up meals at the center or have them delivered.

“We’re still making meals and we’re catering to our seniors, the ones that are part of the senior program,” said Rooks. He said the meals are being delivered to the homebound seniors and the seniors who had been attending the center in person.

Ryan Robertson, Cleburne County probate judge and commission chairman, said Monday that all is good in light of the governor’s shelter-in-place order.

Robertson said all county employees are at work behind closed doors like last week.

“We’re trying to help the public as much as possible through phone and through the internet,” said Robertson. 

Robertson wanted to spread a message of optimism and to continue to practice the guidelines to stop the spread of the virus. “We just want to make sure everyone is careful and happy and we’re looking to brighter days ahead, Godspeed to everybody,” said Robertson. 

The next commission meeting is scheduled for May 11 at the Mountain Center in Heflin.

​Staff writer Bill Wilson: 256-235-3562. On Twitter @bwilson_star.