Hoover officials exploring ways to help during pandemic

HOOVER – As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, Hoover city officials are using the latest information to decide the best possible course of action.

Hoover Mayor Frank Brocato said the city’s Emergency Operations Center has been open since the crisis began, and he receives a daily briefing with the incident management team.

“I work with the city administrator and other city officials and work through objectives for that day—any challenges we’re looking at for the current day and into the coming days and weeks,” Brocato said. “And we still have a city we’re running. We still have water main breaks. We still have medical calls. We still have people that need services. Those calls haven’t really stopped.”

Brocato has also been in communication with mayors from across the state and federal government officials.

“It has never been more critical to follow the recommendations of our county health officer and stay at home unless you absolutely need to leave,” Brocato said. “At the very least, remember there are a lot of people suffering like our doctors and our nurses and our policemen and firemen who are having to face this each and every day.”

Brocato said the city’s focus during the pandemic includes providing information to residents that can be trusted, gathered from local and national experts.

Hoover officials are also focusing on the business climate in the city, working to offer resources and expertise that can help, including information about stimulus payments and loan programs for businesses.

A landing page has been created on the city’s website, HooverAlabama.gov, that contains information useful for individuals and businesses.

A business resource hotline has been set up and can be reached at (205) 739-7162, and the Hoover Helpline for individuals can be reached at (205) 444-7877.

Residents can also text “HOOVERCOVID” to 888-777 to sign up for updates and information about COVID-19.

Despite the challenges, the city still must be run like a business, Brocato said.

“We started about March 2 looking at addressing this incident, not only from a human services and health services standpoint but also from a business management side,” he said. “Our [chief financial officer], city administrator (Allan Rice) and financial team have been working to get our arms around what it means for the city of Hoover, and we feel like we have a really good approach to gathering that information.

“At the end of the day, we’re going to be in the business of trying to forecast what it looks like going forward.”

Brocato stressed the importance of making sound, methodical decisions—not reacting based on panic and fear.

A state of emergency has been declared in the city, limiting expenditures during an uncertain time.

Events scheduled in the coming weeks have been postponed based on federal and state social distancing orders: Celebrate Hoover Day (originally scheduled for April 25), Household Hazardous Waste Day (May 2) and the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast (May 8).

Hoover also continues to care for its most vulnerable residents, including school children and the elderly. Organizations like Hoover Helps and Hoover Neighborhood Bridges help with that effort, Brocato said.

“There are a lot of families that have been immediately thrown into crisis,” Brocato said. “We have to make sure we have the resources to help them.”