MAYOR STIMPSON UPDATES CITY RESPONSE TO COVID-19
Mar 17th, 2020
Posted in: COVID-19
MOBILE – Mayor Sandy Stimpson today announced a series of action steps the City of Mobile is taking as part of its rapid response to the COVID-19 virus.
There have been 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alabama, including one in Baldwin County, but currently no confirmed cases in the City of Mobile. It is expected that positive cases may emerge in the coming days.
The Alabama Department of Public Health on Tuesday issued updated guidelines to aid in Alabama’s efforts to flatten the curve during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. For Jefferson and surrounding counties (Tuscaloosa, Walker, Blount, St. Clair and Shelby), ADPH recommends against gatherings of 25 persons or more where a six-foot distance cannot be maintained.
"Our foremost concern is the health and safety of our citizens. As of today, we have had no confirmed cases of COVID-19, but we are prepared if and when they do come," said Mayor Stimpson. “Our goal is to limit and slow the spread of this virus, while minimizing the impact on citizens.”
Mayor Stimpson on Tuesday declared a Public Health Emergency in the City of Mobile following approval of a resolution by the Mobile City Council.
“This resolution was necessary so we can continue our preparations and rapid response to Coronavirus,” said Stimpson. “We will do whatever it takes to protect our citizens.”
Social distancing and good hygiene remain the most effective methods to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. The City is encouraging citizens to avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people and to maintain the six-foot personal space barrier as advised by the CDC.
Mobile City Hall remains fully active including all City departments. First responders including Mobile Police and Mobile Fire-Rescue are continuing to respond to any and all calls for service. Garbage and trash service is continuing on schedule.
City offices remain open, although access to some offices may be limited. The City is making efforts to limit contact and reduce large group meetings. The City is working closely with Mobile County to minimize risk to citizens who visit Government Plaza. Residents are encouraged to access City services online via the City’s website at www.cityofmobile.org if at all possible.
All city employees are reporting to work on their regular schedule. The City has suspended all non-essential travel for city employees.
The City has updated its plan for employees to work remotely or under flexible work hours, should that become necessary.
State of Emergency
Mayor Stimpson on Tuesday asked the Mobile City Council on Tuesday to approve a resolution declaring a Public Health Emergency in the City of Mobile. The resolution was approved by a 5-0 vote.
The resolution authorizes the Administration to make emergency purchases, prohibit price gouging and implement a curfew, if necessary.
All city services are continuing under normal operations.
The City is in active contact with administrators for the Mobile County Emergency Management Agency. The City is activating its participation in the Joint Information Center in coordination with the Mobile County EMA.
The City’s foremost concern is protecting the health and safety of citizens. However, the City is also taking steps to minimize the economic harm caused by COVID-19.
Mayor Stimpson met with executives from the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce on Monday and tasked the Chamber with coordinating efforts to support local and small businesses during this challenging time.
The City encourages citizens to shop locally in support of small businesses while practicing social distancing.
Mobile Police Department
The Mobile Police Department remains fully active and responding to any and all calls for service.
Due to the coronavirus concerns, the Mobile Police Department is taking precautionary measures for the health and safety of the community. Citizens are urged to use the department’s Teleserv to report crimes to police. Teleserv officers will take the complaint and complete an incident report over the telephone.
Response to certain crimes will require the presence of an officer but calls that are considered low priority such as minor offenses and misdemeanor crimes will be taken over the telephone.
The Mobile Police Department’s Teleserve number is 251-208-7211.
MPD is urging citizens to use caution and not gather in large groups in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19. MPD encourages people not to block public streets or intersections, as such activities may create a public safety risk.
If you have an emergency, please call 9-1-1. You can reach the Police non-emergency operator at (251) 208-7211.
Mobile Fire-Rescue Department
The Mobile Fire-Rescue Department remains fully active and responding to any and all calls for service.
Citizens in need of transport or treatment for non-life threatening conditions (for example, fever or cough) should use personal vehicles or private ambulance services. For emergency or life-threatening situations, including shortness of breath or inability to catch your breath, please call 9-1-1.
It is imperative that we keep our paramedics in service by minimizing unnecessary contact, so they may be available to respond to life-threatening situations.
All city services, including trash and garbage pickup, are operating on a normal schedule.
Engineering projects, including street work, are continuing on schedule.
Mobile Parks and Recreation
The City closed all Senior and Community Centers and canceled all events through April 6. The schedule will be reassessed at that time.
The City will adjust its meal program for pick-up and delivery under the following schedule:
- Connie Hudson Center – Café is providing $7 meals for pick-up from 12:30-1:30pm – to reserve a meal please call 251-208-6212
- SAIL – Nutritional Meals – The City is delivering meals to all C1 and C2 participants
A limited number of meals will be provided on a first-come, first-serve basis for pick-up between 3-4 pm at the following locations:
The Department has postponed all planned activities through April 6.
During this period of social distancing, Parks and Recreation encourages residents to take advantage of its outdoor recreation amenities. City parks, walking trails, athletic courts, fields and playgrounds remain open and available to the public.
The City asks residents to use outdoor spaces thoughtfully and in accordance with public health guidelines. The CDC states that there is NO recommendation at this time to wear masks. If you have a fever or cough, stay home.
All permitted public events have been postponed through April 6. However, we understand that some citizens may want to congregate in small groups. In those cases, the City encourages social distancing and hand washing.
The Alabama Department of Public Health recommends no large gatherings of 50 persons or more, or gatherings of any size that cannot maintain a consistent six-foot distance between participants. This may include festivals, parades, assemblies, or sporting events.
Large gatherings not only put the community at risk for spreading COVID-19, they also put city staff at greater risk at a time when they are needed most. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 only works, if we all work together.
The Alabama Supreme Court entered an administrative order suspending all in person proceedings in all state and local courts beginning Monday, March 16, 2020 through April 16, 2020 with limited exceptions applicable to Mobile Municipal Court. Those limited exceptions involve bond related matters, arraignments, and plea agreements for incarcerated individuals only.
All other in-person proceedings are suspended through April 16, 2020. You will receive a notice in the mail with your new court date.
Those on formal probation with the City of Mobile probation office are to call the probation office at (251) 800-1701 for further instruction.
Those needing to make a payment on tickets, fines, and/or costs can do so online at www.cityofmobile.org or mail a money order or cashier’s check to Mobile Municipal Court Payment Window, 205 Government Street, Mobile, AL 36602.
All K-12 public schools in Alabama, including the City of Mobile, will close at the end of today, March 17, in response to COVID-19. Schools could re-open on April 6, depending on the situation at that time.
The City remains in communication and coordination with the Mobile County Public School System (MCPSS), private schools and local higher education institutions.
Each school will be communicating directly with families on the steps and resources that will be provided to support ongoing student learning.
USDA granted Alabama a statewide waiver allowing schools to keep feeding students during the closure. MCPSS will provide food for public school students similar to their summer lunch program. Right now they are working on the sites where meals will be distributed.
Boards and commissions
No current changes to meeting schedules for city boards and commissions including the Mobile Planning Commission, Board of Adjustment, Architectural Review Board and the Mobile Historic Development Commission.
Guidelines for these meetings remain under review and may be subject to change in the coming days. Where possible, the City encourages meetings to be conducted by telephone or video conference.
Secretary of State John Merrill is seeking an emergency opinion from Attorney General Steve Marshall on postponing the March 31 primary runoff election.
Mobile Public Library
All Mobile Public Library locations will close until April 6.
The 2020 Mobile Literary Festival scheduled for March 21 at the Ben May Main Library has been canceled.
Mobile Cruise Terminal
Carnival Cruise Line has temporarily paused their cruises, effective through April 9. The Carnival Fantasy returned to the Port of Mobile on Monday, and will not sail again until April 10. Ship crew will remain on board the ship or within the terminal property.
Meetings and Conventions
Visit Mobile is diligently working with all incoming groups regarding previously scheduled meetings and conventions. Visit Mobile is working with the hospitality community to ensure proper preventative measures are in place with respect to the Coronavirus.
Public transportation through WAVE Transit System is continuing on its regular schedule, but may be subject to change.
Buses and facilities are cleaned on a daily basis. Employees are provided with heavy duty gloves and sanitizing wipes daily. Hand soap is stocked and plentiful.
The Mobile Museum of Art, Mobile History Museum, GulfQuest Maritime Museum, Mobile Botanical Gardens and the Exploreum will be closed until April 6. The schedule will be reassessed at that time.
Mobile Civic Center
Mobile Ballet has postponed the production of Beauty and the Beast, currently scheduled for March 21 & 22 at the Mobile Civic Center Theater to a future date.
The City is engaging with local non-profits and service providers to make sure that citizens have access to needed resources.
For information regarding shelters, food pantries, help with utilities and other social needs, call 2-1-1.
Mobile-311 is continuing service during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Please remember to call 9-1-1 only for life-threatening emergencies. For everything else, call our non-emergency number, 251-208-5311 or 3-1-1.
Mobile City Council
The Mobile City Council is conducting its regularly scheduled meetings at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in the Auditorium in Government Plaza. Council meetings are live streamed on the City’s website at www.cityofmobile.org.
The pre-council meeting will also continue at 9:00 a.m. but those meetings have moved to the Auditorium as well.
In accordance with the guidance provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health, the Council is limiting access both these meetings. During this time, the Council intends to hold-over any agenda items that may be of particular interest to the public in order to ensure they have the opportunity to weigh in on them.
“Our focus is on ensuring the critical needs of our citizens continue to be met,” said Council Vice President C.J. Small. “It is clear we are all going to have to make some adjustments but by doing that and working together, we will get through this and be stronger.”
The special ad-hoc committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday to discuss the proposal to withdraw city services from the police jurisdiction was postponed.