FOLEY - The climate of our world has changed over the past month as COVID-19 has led Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to issue a Stay-At-Home order throughout the state in order to stop the spread of the …
FOLEY - The climate of our world has changed over the past month as COVID-19 has led Alabama Governor Kay Ivey to issue a Stay-At-Home order throughout the state in order to stop the spread of the virus.
This has also led local first responders to begin dealing with situations that were not issues before the pandemic began. Stay-At-Home implies that citizens are to stay in their homes as much as possible. However there are exceptions that allow essential workers to continue to travel to work and families to make trips to the grocery store when needed. One problem arises when asked the question: is a business essential?
“With the new order, it’s quiet at night, but there are a lot of people out during the day,” said Foley Police Chief David Wilson. “There are so many exceptions that there’s just a lot of people out and about. We’re having daily discussions with businesses on the topic of if a business is essential or not, but we’re having a lot of business owners working with us there. We’re trying to use tact and diplomacy with this during this tough time, but at the end of the day we’re trying to save people’s lives. So far we’re getting cooperation.”
To help stop the virus spread, essential major retailers have been told to limit their occupancy level to 50 percent of their normal occupancy. It is up to the retailers themselves to control this level. In an effort to control this, some businesses have begun to shut off certain exit points in order to control how many people go into a store and how many people exit a store before more are let inside. The Foley Fire Department has been working with local businesses to ensure that emergency exit points are available and have not been shut off.
“Even though businesses have reduced their occupancy numbers down, they still have to give access to their exits,” said Fire Chief Joey Darby. “We’ve been working with them to figure out how to do that, but there is no one size fits all solution, we’re working business by business. Smaller businesses are limiting the number of people in their business to ten, but that’s not going to work with our big-box retailers. People need to try to control that flow in and out while keeping the access to their exits open.”
A question being asked of both the fire and police departments is if they’re being notified of where local confirmed cases are. While initially the information was being filtered out to first responder agencies at a slower pace, which both chiefs claim wasn’t useful information to either department, as of the beginning of April both departments have begun receiving address points of confirmed cases in a timely manner. Though this could change depending on the spread of COVID-19, both chiefs are working hard to ensure they continue to receive information on address points of confirmed cases in real-time.
To learn more about the efforts of the City of Foley, visit https://cityoffoley.org.