By John C. West
Mayor Barry Moody spoke to the LaFayette Sun Monday regarding precautions that are being taken to help prevent the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 in LaFayette.
“We are trying to take the health of our employees and the health of the citizens and make sure that we are doing the things that we can to protect each and every one,” Moody said. “The local schools are still closed, as the governor announced, until April 6th. We have canceled or suspended all recreational activities as far as any sports related activities until further notice throughout the city of LaFayette.”
Both City Hall and the County Court House have also been closed to the general public. “I’ve asked all the department heads to make sure that they protect themselves as much as they can, to make sure that they are taking care of the employees who work in each department and that we limit the contact with the public,” Moody said. “We have closed the doors to city hall and are accepting payments through drop box only. If there’s any question that any citizen may have, they can call (334)-864-7181 and someone in city hall will respond to any question or concern.” March utility bills will still be due by the 15th with a cutoff of March 25th. However, all utility bills will be extended until April 3rd, with no penalties.
Essential LaFayette city departments will remain open despite the public closures. “Our police and fire and EMS, all of our essentials, our water department, same as city hall, all of the city operations are open,” Moody said. “We are just limiting contact.” The police, fire, EMS and the 911 center along with the Sheriff’s department are having to do more screening than usual “just to see the nature of what someone might be responding to, to be a little bit more prepared for the situation that they might be going in.” Medical guidelines have been set up for these departments to follow.
The Mainstreet Alabama meeting that was scheduled for March 24th has been canceled as well. “Dr. Butch Busby is heading up our main street program. We had a March 24th meeting scheduled tomorrow night. We’ve had to cancel that,” Moody said. “As soon as we know more we will reschedule, because it’s going to be a very important meeting as we try to revitalize the downtown city of LaFayette.”
The Senior Citizen building, while still open for lunch, has also had to adapt due to social distancing protocols.“We serve lunches to our seniors in LaFayette and the surrounding area,” Moody said. “The lunches will still be provided, it just must be picked up, or there will be deliveries made for those who cannot come pick them up.” Mayor Moody has also had to cancel all parties that have rented space at the Senior Center throughout March and April.
Lowe’s Pharmacy is still open for business, though it has had to adapt as well. “Lowe’s pharmacy continues to be open, however, it is curb service only,” Moody said. “You can call (334)-864-7781 And they will take your order out to your vehicle. Our citizens in the surrounding communities are still able to get their prescriptions. The inside of the store is not open. There’s not a drive through, but it’s curb service for each and every one that pulls up to Lowe’s pharmacy. We think that’s important to make sure that everyone’s getting their medication as they should.”
Both Piggly Wiggly and Renfroe’s Groceries are also still open for business. “We have our grocery stores, I’ve been staying in touch with them,” Moody said. “There are items that are a little more difficult to keep on the shelves in the stores. They’re still receiving trucks and their doors are open. We just ask that our citizens be cautious and take a look at everything that we’ve been practicing with our distance that we’re keeping as we’re going in.” Other retail stores such as Family Dollar, Dollar General and Super Dollar also remain open.
Local area restaurants are still open, though not for dine in. “We have restaurants that are open,” Moody said. “They are basically now drive through, or pick up only. A lot of the dining inside has been restricted.” The restrictions on restaurants are in accordance with guidelines set up by Governor Kay Ivey.
While restrictions and shortages caused by the Coronavirus continue to cause difficulties for many people, Mayor Moody is still optimistic and thankful. “As Mayor, I just want to say thank you to the grocery stores, the pharmacy, our first responders, our police and fire and everyone, we’ve got a lot of individuals,” he said. “Lafayette is a very strong community. It has been, and it always will be. It’s something that we’re going to get through and we’ll come through much stronger. However, everyone should use a social distance, six feet or more whenever possible, make good decisions, staying at home as much as possible.”
“As I go to bed every night, I say a special prayer for this city, this community, this state, this nation. And sometimes you have to put things in somebody’s hands and I look to the one up above and I know that there’s going to be better for all of us,” Moody said.