The city of Athens is making changes to some departmental operations as the number of coronavirus cases increase in the city and Limestone County.
That includes closing City Hall, fire stations and public works to walk-in traffic.
“I have asked department heads to reiterate with employees the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and sanitizing,” Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said in a news release. “In addition, I have asked each department to set protocols in place regarding public access to their facilities.”
See the city’s changes in the full news release below:
Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks is working with department heads to ensure the safety of employees and citizens as local COVID-19 numbers rise.
According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Limestone County is a high-risk county with 1,042 cases in the last 14 days. Athens-Limestone Hospital reported at the end of December it had 28 positive in-patients.
“I have asked department heads to reiterate with employees the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and sanitizing,” Marks said. “In addition, I have asked each department to set protocols in place regarding public access to their facilities.”
Here is a list of each facility’s protocols:
Offices are closed to walk-in traffic through Jan. 15, when this procedure will be re-evaluated.
Employees are working, and each department is offering ways for citizens to remotely access employees, information, and forms. Those with appointments will undergo a temperature check. The City’s website is www.athensal.us which lists contact information for each department as well as information on payments, forms, and services.
City Hall phone numbers
Mayor's Office 256-233-8730
Building Department 256-233-8715
City Clerk 256-233-8720
Business Licenses 256-233-8003
Fire Prevention Bureau 256-233-8723
Human Resources 256-233-8737
One Stop Shop 256-262-1525
The City of Athens cannot by state law close public meetings, such as Council meetings, but is offering options to view them online by live stream via YouTube at CityofAthensAla. Citizens who attend in person will undergo a temperature check.
Citizens who meet these criteria will be prohibited from attending meetings:
· Persons who have been, within the last 14 days, in any area identified by the CDC as subject to a Level 3 Travel Health Notice or as a place of “Widespread sustained spread and restrictions on travel to the United States,” see https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html This list may update.
· Persons who reside or have had close contact with someone who has been in one of the areas listed above within the last 14 days.
· Persons who have been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor, hospital or health agency.
· Persons who have been diagnosed with or have had contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or the flu.
· Persons who have a fever 100.4 degrees or higher, cough, have trouble breathing, or are obviously unwell, and have not been free of those conditions for 48 hours.
Athens Utilities Customer Accounts
The office is open, and employees are behind a barrier. Customers must wear a mask. A temperature check station is being installed to check those who enter.
Athens Police Department and Municipal Court
The front lobby is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for those who have business with police or court. Those who enter must wear a mask. No more than three people are allowed in the lobby at the same time. Chief Floyd Johnson encourages citizens to communicate by phone or email if possible. The main police number is 256-233-8710. Courtroom COVID-19 procedures remain the same.
Athens Fire Stations
Closed to walk-in traffic and visitors until further notice.
To obtain a burn permit, call Station 1 at 256-233-8710 and set up a time for personnel to check the proposed burn site. Once approval is given, personnel will call the applicant to provide the permit number and send an email with the permit attached.
To obtain a fire report, call Station 1 at 256-233-8710 to request a copy be emailed.
League basketball restarts today (Jan. 4). Racquetball is limited to two people per court, and pickleball is limited to four people per session, and both require reservations. Fitness classes are being held, and participants are asked to adhere to restrictions that are in place for each activity. Currently, the Rec Center is not renting rooms. These protocols are subject to change as needed. Stay updated by following on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/AthensRecreationCenter
Athens Utilities on Wilkinson Street
The front lobby is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to those who have business with one of the utility departments. There are instructions at the front desk on who to call to be escorted to the appropriate office. Visitors must wear a mask.
Athens Public Works
Offices are closed to walk-in traffic. Numbers are listed on the front door. Please call 256-233-8725 for information.