VIRTUAL TOWN HALL, ABBREVIATED: APRIL 8, 2020

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Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox today hosted a virtual town hall meeting updating residents on how the city is faring amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s an abbreviated breakdown.

Data as of 2 p.m. April 8

  • Tuscaloosa County COVID-19 numbers:
    • Alabama Department of Public Health says
      • 83 positives, 1,444 negatives
    • DCH reporting
      • 92 positives, 2,119 negatives
      • 10 positives inpatient
      • Less than five in ICU
  • City of Tuscaloosa Workforce on leave related to COVID-19:
    • Tuscaloosa Police Department Officers: 0
    • TPD Telecommunications: 1, making up 2.3% of employees
    • Fire Rescue: 25, making up 10.25% of workforce
    • City employees: 29, making up 2.19% of employees
  • Statewide cases:
    • Positive: 2,369
    • Negative: 16,613

Numbers in Tuscaloosa County began spiking April 5.

Tuscaloosa City Council

Maddox spoke with Tuscaloosa City Council members Sonya Mckinstry of District 7 and Cynthia Almond of District 3.

  • Within your district and the city, what has been your primary focus?
    • Almond: Staying in tune with district’s needs
    • McKinstry: Getting information to residents and open communication
  • Biggest question from constituents?
    • Both: Curfew questions
  • What is your greatest concern going forward?
    • McKinstry: City finances
    • Almond: Figuring out when we can come out of this
    • Maddox: Economic impact of losing 25,000 residents from University of Alabama, and mitigating hospitalization

Announcements

  • All city events and events on city property are canceled through May 31
  • Drop-off recycling will be available April 20 at the Richard A Curry Environmental Complex from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Tuscaloosa City Schools

  • Has fed 60,000 meals to students
  • City and County school systems are switching to once weekly meal pickup. More info here

Q&A

  • Are the parks in Tuscaloosa open? What about the lakes?
    • Some parks are open for walking during daylight hours. More info here.
    • Boat ramp at Lake Tuscaloosa is open
      • Other lakes still closed
  • Is there somewhere I can drop off my recyclables since curbside pickup has been discontinued?
  • Will there be any layoffs for city employees?
    • Don’t believe so at this point. City’s in good financial shape right now
  • Will the city be offering hazardous pay for essential city employees like Birmingham did?
    • Not right now, but it may be up for consideration in the future
  • How does opening the parks promote social distancing and flatting the curve?
    • Because residents still need to get out of the house, and city would rather residents be outside in a large park than inside at Walmart or Home Depot with dozens of other people
  • Have there been any deaths related to COVID-19 in Tuscaloosa?
    • None reported, but deaths are listed for a person’s county of residence. DCH serves 11 counties
  • Are we still behind on our true numbers for testing and confirmed positives for COVID-19? If so, when will it get fixed?
    • No, but positive results from private labs take time to be reported to the Alabama Department of Public Health
    • More people are testing positive this week, but that was expected. Goal is reducing next week’s numbers
  • How is the city working to reach the under-served, socioeconomically vulnerable residents in Tuscaloosa?
    • Task force is working with agencies in community providing support, like United Way of West Alabama
    • Working on getting testing into vulnerable communities
  • Why are automotive manufacturers considered essential and remain open?
    • They are considered essential at the state and federal level
  • The distinction between essential and non-essential is not clear. Why are beauty parlors considered non-essential, yet pawn shops can remain open?
    • Beauty parlors have patrons and workers in close contact. Pawn shops are considered part of the financial system according to state law.
  • How will COVID-19 impact the Census?
    • Greatly, considering the University of Alabama is gone at the moment
      • Please fill out the Census
  • Will I be able to go to my church and attend Easter service.
    • If there are fewer than 10 people at the service, or if you can participate in a drive-in service
      • City recommends worshiping at home with televised, radio or internet-based services
  • Will the current moratorium on multi-family apartments continue?
    • It expires May 31. Council is considering an extension on the moratorium
  • Will social service agencies be eligible for local relief?
    • City hasn’t gotten to that point yet, but is discussing it soon
  • Will Elevate Tuscaloosa funds be used to offset the revenues lost due to COVID-19?
    • City hasn’t gotten to that point yet, but it could at some point
  • Is the tag department open to get car tags?
    • That’s part of Tuscaloosa County, but it is open for online and email registration
  • Will the Riverwalk always remain open?
    • Probably, but it will continue being evaluated
  • Are we using the governor’s or the city’s curfew? What about after the governor’s curfew is over?
    • Governor’s curfew ends April 17. City’s order was suspended when the state order went into effect. City is looking at what’s best for Tuscaloosa, so it’s possible the city’s curfew can be extended
  • Does the city pay for COVID-19 tests?
    • No

The next Virtual Town Hall meeting will be Friday, April 10, at 3 p.m. You can submit questions right here.

https://www.facebook.com/TuscaloosaCity/videos/280350616292870/?epa=SEARCH_BOX

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