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Florence mayor discusses reason on not issuing a local state of emergency

The city has not issued a local state of emergency and the mayor explains why they haven't.

Posted: Mar 23, 2020 3:27 PM

The city of Florence is not under a local state of emergency as of Monday, even though there are two confirmed coronavirus cases in Lauderdale County.

"What were doing is following ADPH guidelines, CDC guidelines and Governor Ivey's directives," said Florence Mayor, Steve Holt.

Holt said a local state of emergency would give him more power to make decisions, without needing the city council vote.

"City council would authorize the state of emergency which would then give me certain authority or powers but the main thing would be I've talked with other mayors it would give me the ability to do a quick turn around on an emergency contract," said Holt.

Holt said in other emergency situations the city council has met in 24 hours so they can make decisions as a group. That's how they will keep it for now.

"You run the risk of second guessing yourself. And making mistakes. We're going to make mistakes in the process because were in unknown territory. I think for us it's to minimize the mistakes we make and by all means do things fro the right reasons," said Holt.

Holt said telling businesses what to do as a city is not something they will make a call on. He's leaving that up to the federal government or governor. As of Friday all restaurant and bars in the state can only do carry out, delivery, or to-go orders because of the governor's order.

"It's a fine balance between the curve from the virus or the economic crash. It's just a fine line," said Holt.

Essential services like waste management, utilities, police, water, gas, and firefighters will all still work under any plan. Currently some city employees are basically working remotely and minimizing their time in the office. Employees are getting to take city cars home as well so they can skip going to the office.

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