SYLACAUGA -- The city of Sylacauga announced via press release Thursday afternoon that City Hall would be reopened effective Monday at 8 a.m., with social distancing protocols remaining in place.
According to the release, there will be lines on the floor to indicate the 6 feet required for social distancing once inside the building.
“Visitors may enter from the Broadway parking lot entrance only,” the release says. “Entry and exit doors will be clearly marked. The number of visitors allowed in the departments will be limited, and only one member of any family or party should enter City Hall to conduct business. Hand sanitizers will be available in the lobby.”
The departments that will open at this time include the Police Department, City Clerk’s Office, Municipal Court, Code Enforcement and the Mayor’s Office. The Code Enforcement Office will be available by appointment only from 7-8 a.m.
“Appointments are recommended for any in-person business when possible,” the release said. “No visitors that are sick should enter any city of Sylacauga facility.”
A pair of council members expressed concerns in a reply to the email containing the release, sent by Sylacauga City Clerk Assistant Kim Morris.
District 2 Councilwoman Tiffany Nix replied to all recipients of the email at 8:26 a.m. Friday with a handful of questions preceding her inquiry of whether City Hall would be fully prepared to open Monday.
“Are we gonna require all visitors and staff to wear masks?,” she asked. “Do we have enough disinfectant to maintain the level of cleaning that will ensure the staff and others are safe? Do we need to bring in some extra help to keep all the areas cleaned and sanitized after the flow of all the outside traffic? Does everyone know how important this is and realize that it’s important to keep everyone in that building safe?
“I just want to make sure that we are taking all the steps in being safe because if one person becomes infected, we will have to close the whole department until everyone has been tested and approved to come back to work. In my opinion, that’s not a risk we can afford to take!”
District 3 Councilman Donnie Blackmon replied to Nix’s email at 10:45 a.m. Friday and echoed her concerns.
“I agree with Tiffany. It is very important to protect those inside,” he said. “In doing that, we can help protect those coming in from the outside. Two things that are used, doors and handrails -- one way that would help would be to prop the doors open where no one would need to touch them, or maybe have someone disinfect them and the handrails each time someone comes in or out. The different clerks could keep their counters disinfected if need be.”
Blackmon added everyone must consider that anywhere each person who works in City Hall goes, if someone picks up the virus, the risk increases for said person to take the virus anywhere, even home.
Sylacauga Mayor Jim Heigl said the re-opening of City Hall is being done while keeping in mind all provisions of Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s most recent update for her “safer at home” order.