VIRTUAL TOWN HALL MEETING, ABBREVIATED: APRIL 1, 2020

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Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox hosted a virtual town meeting Wednesday at 1 p.m. Here’s what happened:

Volunteering

President and CEO of United Way of West Alabama Jackie Wuska said there are several ways people can help others while they’re stuck at home. The most important way? Staying home.

But other ways to volunteer include writing thank-yous for anyone working right now, including grocery store workers, health care workers or first responders.

Community Service Programs of West Alabama needs help with their Meals on Wheels program.

Temporary Emergency Services needs donations.

Donate to the West Alabama Community Response Fund.

Question and answer session:

  • I understand that under state regulations that gun stores and ABC stores are considered essential businesses. Is that the case in Tuscaloosa?
    • Yes.
  • If my business is considered nonessential, can I still go to it and work without opening it up to the public?
    • Yes, just exercise discretion and common sense. Do what’s necessary to make sure your business is ready to reopen. But don’t have all your employees come and do busy work.
  • Can I still deliver or offer curbside if my business is not essential?
    • You cannot do curbside or local delivery. You can still ship items through the mail, including to local customers.
  • My type of business is allowed to stay open in other cities in the state, why can’t my business stay open here if I follow Alabama Department of Public Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines?
    • There is an appeals process for businesses if they would like to be considered essential. Visit tuscaloosa.com/covid19 for more information.
      • Many appeals have been successful.
  • Is the city planning to offer any relief programs or loans to businesses?
    • Whatever the city decides to recommend goes to City Council for approval.
      • City is down 25,000 people, and is losing about $500,000 a week. Council wants a full review of city’s finances before enacting a financial relief package. That should happen next week.
  • Is city hall still open? How can I get a building permit?
    • Open virtually. Can still submit plans for review, can still call in for a permit. Call 311 if you need help.
  • Are we allowed to fish on Lake Tuscaloosa? What if you live on the lake?
    • Yes, you can fish on Lake Tuscaloosa. Public docks are closed, though.
  • Will I be pulled over or questioned for driving through Tuscaloosa?
    • Probably not. If you are, make sure you’re following the curfew rules.
      • No tickets have been issued for curfew violation.
  • Do I need to have documentation if I’m traveling for an essential reason?
    • It’s not required, but it doesn’t hurt.
  • Will my garbage still be picked up? What about trash?
    • Garbage service is essential. Debris pickup is still being picked up, but that may change in the future. Recycling is ending for the time being.
  • Is outdoor exercise permitted like bike riding and jogging?
    • Yes.
  • Is social distancing being enforced by the police department?
    • If there are large groups of people gathering, then yes police will break it up.
  • What would a “red light’ mean in Tuscaloosa? At what point will we get there?
    • Shelter in place order. We’re still seven to 10 days from that point, and we may not get there. It’s dependent on how many patients are in DCH and other variables.
  • Some of the essential businesses are so busy it is impossible to maintain the 6-foot distancing. Is there a way to limit the capacity in the stores?
    • City is relying on people’s honor, but is reminding businesses of the guidelines and doing inspections.
  • Is there a way to limit shopping to only essential items to limit the amount of people in a store?
    • Technically, but there’s no real way for the city to effectively police that.
  • Is DCH the only place in Tuscaloosa doing COVID-19 screenings? Where else can we go?
    • Maude Whatley is screening by appointment, Crimson Care is screening patients. Others may be doing testing as well. Call your doctor’s office for instructions.
  • People working in manufacturing are still forced to work. Why is this an essential business and what is being done to ensure their safety?
    • Manufacturers must abide by ADPH orders, but in general manufacturers are exempt from being closed.
  • Can community gardening be deemed essential? It provides healthy food and is therapeutic during these times.
    • City will review it.
  • Will there be football this year?
    • Hope so, but a lot depends on this month.
  • Is it safe to travel during the curfew?
    • Yes. But don’t unless you must.

 

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Categories: COVID-19, Local News