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Vicksburg and Warren County adopt COVID-19 policies and procedures



Vicksburg Mayor George Flaggs Jr. at March 16 Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting. (Photo by Thomas Parker)

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen adopted policies and procedures in line with recommendations made by the State of Mississippi Department of Health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their Monday meeting.

“We are about to embark upon something I don’t think none of us—I don’t care how old you are—have ever experienced in the United States is in relates to the coronavirus,” Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said.

Mayor Flaggs said that this issue is a moving target and is changing day-by-day and hour-by-hour.

“This is a serious, serious matter and I would ask that we use all the precaution as we can to try and minimize this,” Flaggs said.

The CDC recommends individuals 65 years of age or older not be in a crowd that exceeds 50 people. CDC also recommends all people practice safe social distances and proper hygiene. Mayor Flaggs advised not to go to a doctor’s office or emergency room if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Instead, call your medical provider for further evaluation and testing.

The City of Vicksburg adopted COVID-19 policies and procedures until March 29:

  • The City of Vicksburg employees will operate under emergency housing conditions and inclement weather policy. Employees will be asked to take vacation time or sick leave pending a proposed lost wages bill.

“There is a bill that left the (U.S.) House and it’s on its way to the Senate that may or may not pass that (is) looking to reimburse any employees for any lost wages,” Flaggs said.

  • All police personnel should take proper precautions such as wearing protective clothing when in physical contact with the public.

“I’ve spoken to Chief  [Milton] Moore and everybody is in sync on how we plan to govern ourselves,” Flaggs said, “and I’ve also talked to Chief [Craig] Danzyck for the protocol as it relates to the first responders and our medical unit. I’ve also been in contact with Merit Health on how we are going to handle this. We are in contact with the CDC and the State Department of Health.

  • Every city employee restroom will be checked for sufficient amounts of soap, hand sanitizer and paper towels every hour during the workday for the next 30 days.
  • The City Senior Center will remain closed for the next two weeks and will undergo further evaluation to open or remain closed.
  • The City of Vicksburg is suspending water and gas customer disconnects for the next 60 days.

“We had 14 days, but the Public Service has adopted 60 days and (City Attorney Nancy Thomas) has verified,” Flaggs said. “That means no cut off of gas or water supply for the next 60 days. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay and pay on time. That doesn’t exclude any late fees or anything”

  • The City has suspended all employee travel funding for any distance more than 100 miles outside Vicksburg unless deemed necessary by the mayor.
  • City employees or persons in their household who have traveled over 100 miles outside Vicksburg over the course of the next 30 days or believe you came in contact with the virus while away report back to their immediate supervisor their travel.
  • The city employee that travels outside the United States will stay home for 14 days before returning to work over the course of the next 30 days. This travel policy will be re-evaluated at a later date.

“We only know of one city employee that traveled outside the U.S. that is back and is working from home,” Flaggs said.

  • The City of Vicksburg recreational facilities will be closed for the next 14 days which includes Jackson Street Community Center, the YMCA and all city parks. This will be reevaluated on March 29. As of now, this does not include Sports Force Park
  • There will be no City of Vicksburg public meetings for more than 50 people for the next 14 days.
  • Public court cases will be postponed for the next 14 days unless deemed as an emergency.

“I’ve talked with Judge [Angela] Carpenter, and any ticket that is written will have to be cited to come back after the 14 days,” Flaggs said.

  • The City of Vicksburg recommends no inside funeral services exceeding 50 people should be held for the next 14 days and is recommending only a graveside service.

“I am meeting with all funeral home directors at 12 o’clock,” Flaggs said. “I’m asking, I cannot mandate for them to not have funeral services that exceed more than 50. I don’t know how it works. I hope we can delay a funeral for 14 days.”

  • The City of Vicksburg will have a relaxed dress code for the next 14 days to provide comfort for the employees.
  • City employees should consult The State of Mississippi Coronavirus information sources

“The City of Vicksburg will adopt these standards for the betterment not only for the employees for the City of Vicksburg but for their family too,” Flaggs said.

During the meeting, Flaggs also recommended the adoption of a joint state of emergency declaration between the City of Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen and Warren County Board of Supervisors. The declaration was signed immediately after the board meeting on Monday.

Warren County is also adopting the policies and procedures outlined above.

“Declaring a state of emergency allows us to access mutual-aid resources from the state and federal government, bypass bid laws, and spend whatever money is necessary to respond to the needs of our residents until this outbreak has been contained,” Flaggs said. “Vicksburg and Warren County are united in our response to the COVID-19 outbreak and will continue to act with our residents’ best interests in mind.”

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Vicksburg Daily News