City Manager Alan Carson has announced an administrative order for the City of Thomasville in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This order comes after the Thomasville City Council voted unanimously to declare an official state of emergency for Thomasville on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, which enacts Chapter 7 of the City’s Code of Ordinances, ‘Emergency Management.’ This administrative order is in effect for thirty days from the official declaration of the local state of emergency, or April 24, 2020. **This date has been amended to May 13, 2020.*
“Chapter 7, Section 2 of the City’s Code of Ordinances outlines specific areas where I, as city manager, can take action during a state of emergency,” said Carson. “This state of emergency may be extended or discontinued at the discretion of the Thomasville City Council.”
The administrative order, which goes into effect immediately, contains the following:
- A voluntary shelter-in-place order has been issued for the residents of Thomasville for a period of thirty days. “Residents are encouraged to adhere to a voluntary stay at home measure unless they are participating in outdoor exercise activities, traveling to or from work or visiting an essential business such as a grocery store, hospital, or other business as defined by the United States Department of Homeland Security,” said Carson. The City of Thomasville will recognize the definition of ‘essential businesses’ as outlined by the United States Department of Homeland Security. Some businesses defined as ‘essential services’ include the following:
- Healthcare and public health agencies (hospitals, physician’s offices, etc.)
- Food and agricultural agencies (groceries, pharmacies, convenient stores, restaurants, food manufactures, etc.)
- Energy and utility providers (electricity, water, petroleum, propane, etc.)
- Transportation and logistics (truck drivers, bus drivers, automotive repair and maintenance facilities, etc.)
- Public works and community-based governmental operations
- Critical manufacturing (medical supplies, food and agriculture, communications, etc.)
- Hazardous materials
- Financial services (banking, armored cash carriers, etc.)
- Defense industrial base
- A moratorium for utility disconnections for non-payment will be in effect through May 13, 2020. During the thirty-day period, utility services for customers will not be subject to disconnection for non-payment and unpaid balances will not incur late fees or penalties. “We will continue to send utility bills and we encourage everyone to pay their bill,” said Carson. “However, we have no plans to terminate service simply because of non-payment. After this crisis resolves, we will work with customers who have had issues paying to work out payment arrangements for their outstanding balance.” Carson reiterated that if customers are able to pay their bills, they are encouraged to do so to minimize their repayment balance when this crisis is over.
- All public gatherings of greater than ten people are prohibited on public property. This includes weddings, birthday parties, funeral services, block parties and related activities. This order applies to all city-owned property, including parks, playgrounds, playground equipment, athletic courts and fields and related facilities. “For gatherings that are less than ten, a distance of at least six feet must be maintained at all times between participants,” said Carson.
- All City of Thomasville facilities are closed to the general public, as previously announced. This order will now extend to the Thomasville Regional Airport, effective Monday, March 30th. Full services such as fueling operations, aircraft positioning assistance from hangars and other related services will still be available, with fuel payments accepted by telephone. “Restrooms and the pilot’s lounge, which has access from an outside entrance, will remain open to allow access to a computer for flight planning purposes,” said Carson.
- The City of Thomasville will temporarily suspend backdoor garbage pickup and move to curbside collections only, effective Monday, March 30th. This decision is being made for the health and safety of City staff and solid waste customers. “Currently, one employee may handle upwards of 500 containers each day, so the likelihood of cross-contamination is very real. We realize this change may be an inconvenience for some of our customers, but this change is necessary for the safety of our citizens and staff,” said Carson. “We want our customers to know that we are committed to providing weekly garbage service on their regularly scheduled pick up day, although the way in which we provide that service may look slightly different for this period of time.” In order to facilitate this temporary change, customers should observe the following guidelines:
- Customers desiring service on their collection day should place their container at the curb by 7:00 a.m. on the morning of their regular collection day. It is acceptable to place your container at the curb the evening before your scheduled collection. Please note that because schedules may sometimes vary, having the receptacle in place by 7:00 a.m. will ensure that your container is serviced without any disruption to your collection schedule.
- When placing the container at the curb, do not place it next to any obstructions such as mailboxes, utility poles, parked cars, fire hydrants, etc.
- Place the container as close to the curb as possible without impeding traffic flow.
- Make sure the lid of the container is closed. Excess bags of garbage placed on top or near the container will not be collected.
- For the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, please return your container to your residence after collection.
“We are in unchartered waters for not just our local community, but our nation as well,” said Carson. “However, I’m certain that together as a community, we can navigate this storm. In order to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, we need everyone in our community to adhere to this administrative order.”
Carson said that in addition to the areas outlined in this administrative order, citizens can further help by following all recommended guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control. “This includes washing your hands frequently and practicing social distancing,” he said. “We also need those that are sick to stay home. Each of these measures are critical to stopping the impacts of the coronavirus in Thomasville.”
The City of Thomasville has established a special page on Thomasville.org dedicated to the City’s COVID-19 response. Additional information will be shared on the City’s social media sites and CNSNext Channel 6. For more information visit Thomasville.org or call 229-227-7001.