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Lanett declares state of emergency

LANETT — On Wednesday, the Lanett City Council declared a state of emergency in the city, and Mayor Kyle McCoy urged all Lanett residents to take the spreading COVID-19 pandemic seriously.

“The longer we refuse to adhere to the safety precautions, the longer it’s going to last,” he said. “That’s as simple as I can put it.”

He strongly advised everyone to wash their hands frequently, to use hand sanitizer whenever possible, to avoid crowds, practice social distancing, to stay home as much as possible and to know the symptoms of the coronavirus – fever, dry cough and shortness of breath – and to call 911 or (334) 528-SICK if they have such symptoms.

He seemed especially upset when reporting that Lanett police had had to break up some large gatherings over the weekend.

“This is not a vacation and no time to party,” he said. “Gov. Ivey has told us we do not need to have 25 or more people in an area at the same time.”

McCoy said one of these parties had an estimated 100 people present. Police went there in response to a neighbor’s complaints of loud noise and found scores of people present when they got there.

“We have five known cases now in Chambers County,” the mayor said.

Right about the time McCoy spoke, the number of confirmed cases in Chambers County actually increased to seven.

McCoy said that the city’s essential services would go on.

“All our essential departments are running,” he said. “We will continue to provide power, water, sewer and gas service. Our police, fire and EMS personnel will continue doing the fine job they do.”

Recreation activities have been curtailed and the senior center is closed.

“As long as we continue to receive food from the state for our seniors, we will continue to get it to them,” the mayor said. “The ones in our congregate program can pick it up at the center, or we can deliver it to them. We have around 40 people in our home-b0und program. We deliver food to them five days a week. If they wish, we can add those in our congregate program to the delivery route.”

The mayor pleaded for everyone to get serious about this.

“This is no joke,” he said. “We can see what’s happening in New York City. It’s our nation’s largest city. Lots of people live close together, and the virus is rapidly spreading there. Frequent hand washing and social distancing are important wherever you live.”

The state of emergency declaration was approved in a unanimous vote. It’s in a form recommended by the Alabama League of Municipalities and puts the city in line to receive reimbursements from the state and federal levels for services provided in dealing with the pandemic.

“Lanett emergency personnel and other city departments are authorized to expend city funds for additional personnel, supplies and equipment as needed,” the declaration reads, “so that action can be taken without delay to protect the lives and the safety of our residents and visitors to the city.”

Since the level and impact of COVID-19 cannot be determined at present, the declaration provides city departments the authority and funding to “react promptly and without delay at this critical time.”

The mayor and city departments have been directed to record the additional expenses incurred in both the past and in the future as the result of COVID-19 and to seek reimbursement as provided and authorized by state and federal law.