Alabaster mayor shares updates, concerns

ALABASTER – Although some adjustments have been made to the city of Alabaster’s operations, Mayor Marty Handlon said she and hopes residents haven’t noticed any distinct changes to the quality of service received.

“I hope that those who have to come to Alabaster City Hall to conduct business don’t even realize the differences in the way we’re operating,” Handlon said. “We’re striving to continue providing the same level of quality service residents received prior to all of this.”

Residents are still permitted to come to City Hall, but instead of coming inside the building, a designated person wearing personal protective equipment will greet the person at their car to exchange documents or other items. Handlon said the goal is to prevent COVID-19 from spreading within City Hall.

Handlon said the process runs smoothly on most days, but it can be a bit inconvenient on days when it rains. Handlon said the city will operate under these guidelines until at least April 30.

“Things are changing so rapidly so we’re taking it day-by-day and making changes as needed,” Handlon said.

The Alabaster fire and police departments have also made some procedural changes. The AFD has limited the number of firefighters who can make close contact with a patient. When out on a call, Handlon said only one firefighter makes contact with a patient.

The police department has also taken steps to limit face-to-face contact. For situations that do not pose an immediate threat to public safety or require the collection of evidence, officers will speak to citizens by phone to gather the necessary information to file a police report. The department has also temporarily discontinued pre-employment fingerprinting.

When it comes to responses to call for service, officers will continue to respond in-person for all emergencies. When possible, callers will be asked to step outside of their business/residence to meet with the responding officer to allow for social distancing.

Dispatchers will ask callers if they are experiencing al flu-like symptoms or if they have recently traveled outside of the country. Getting this information will help officers maximize the use protective supplies and help determine the appropriate response to best ensure the health and safety of all people involved.

APD disinfects all public and work areas inside the police station multiple times per day.

Handlon asked the residents be diligent in policing themselves when it comes to social distancing.

“When you’re traveling to essential places, like the grocery store, be conscious of how close you’re standing to people while in line. Don’t crowd people.”

Handlon said her biggest concern right now is for the city’s youth.

“It seems that young people, or their parents, are not taking this serious enough,” Handlon said. “That’s my biggest concern right now. Our young people are not thinking of their impact on others. Just because you might not develop serious symptoms as a result of COVID-19 doesn’t mean that others, who you may have infected, will be able to do the same.”

Handlon urged all residents to take the social distancing guidelines and the stay-at-home order seriously.

“If we all do our part, we can get through this a lot quicker,” she said.