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Brewton staying strong

By Lisa Tindell

The Saturday start to a “stay at home” rule by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey may not have come as a surprise to state residents, but it has given business and government leaders a lesson in adapting to circumstances.

Brewton Mayor Yank Lovelace said some work situations have changed in the city, but he assures the citizens that services are and will continue to be provided.

“We find ourselves with the most daunting challenge of a lifetime with little historical reference to guide us,” Lovelace said. “Even so, the city continues to provide services to residents here and assistance on every level possible to keep people safe.”

Lovelace said that the offices at city hall are being manned on a very limited basis with many employees finding themselves working from home.

“City office staff members are working remotely whenever possible,” Lovelace said. “Those employees working in the field are practicing social distancing.”

Lovelace said that when employees do find themselves in the workplace, that a number of safety precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of everyone working.

“Each department records the temperature of the workers as they arrive,” Lovelace said. “And everyone is helping to practice sanitization of shared spaces.”

Lovelace said that since city hall is essentially closed, some ways of doing business are seeing some major changes.
“We are encouraging people to pay their utilities online with no added fees,” Lovelace said. “Municipal court proceedings have also been suspended.”

The offices of city hall and city department offices closed to the public, there are other city run facilities that have seen closure as well, according to Lovelace, but that doesn’t mean work isn’t going on.

“We have been forced to close playground areas as well as the beach areas in our parks,” Lovelace said. “However, many projects are continuing. Construction of the city pool is ongoing, trash pickup continues and maintenance of public areas will continue.”

The large number of city employees still on the job includes firefighters and police with services being provided as usual throughout the city.

“Firefighters and police have structured work schedules so people here are safe,” Lovelace said. “That will not change.”

In addition to continuing the normal work in the city, Lovelace said they have been doing some out of the ordinary things to help make the situation a little better for the residents here.

“The city has contributed to Backpack Buddies to help children get fed,” Lovelace said. “We have expanded WiFi access in all the parks and in the library parking lot to help students, even though the library was forced to close. We are partnering with community groups and individuals to help meet needs in our city.”

Lovelace said city officials are keeping in contact with state and federal authorities to keep current on the on-going health crisis and are adapting as it is warranted.

“The way we do things will be different for a while,” Lovelace said. “But Brewton is a special place with tenacious people who give and volunteer to help each other through. Floods didn’t change that, previous epidemics didn’t, warts didn’t change that, the Great Depression didn’t change that and we will see each other through this crisis, too. I encourage people to be safe, take care of your families and your neighbors and we will emerge even stronger.”