City begins to reopen

The Holly Springs mayor and board of aldermen, in their May 5 meeting, discussed plans to bring back all employees to work sites, plus gradually opening the city back up for business.

Mayor Kelvin Buck said he had held Zoom meetings with local business owners, talked with them on the phone and participated in four phone conference meetings with Gov. Tate Reeves and mayors around the state.

"These meetings and conversations have provided me with good information and a basic draft to produce a plan to open back up our city," Buck said.

The plan will partially reopen most businesses and city offices starting this week.

The mayor and board of aldermen approved and released Executive Order 6 last week and then Executive Order 7 was approved and released Monday. The documents spell out the required precautions businesses and individuals are required to adhere to until the executive orders are changed.

The latest executive order includes the reopening of barber shops, hair and nail salons, and fitness centers/exercise gyms ­ with limitations.

The two latest executive orders are included, in full, in this week's edition of The South Reporter. See page 6.

The current 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew remains in place until further notice, according to Mayor Buck. "We continue to request

your cooperation and most of all your prayers for our community and all who face this crisis around the world," he said.

City workers went back to work in staggered shifts Monday, May 11. Restaurants could open for inside seating at 50 percent capacity, and bank lobbies could open with social distancing.

Alderman Mark Miller said the board also discussed, in the recent city board meeting, opening the lobby at the Holly Springs Utility Department, taking in one customer at a time.

City employees would travel one per truck and take breaks and lunches separately, Miller said.

"The biggest thing is letting our businesses open back up," he said.

"We're trying to ease back into it."

Ward 1 alderman Bernita Fountain said, "It has been rough during this pandemic but we wanted to do the best we could to ensure the citizens' safety. I'm looking forward to opening the city back up, but we have to do it with the utmost caution. We have to put safety first.

"I think phasing it in will reduce overcrowding and I think we will be in line with the state and open as soon as possible but safely."

Fountain has been concerned for the salons and other small businesses that have been hurting.

"These self-employed people, they are hurting," she said. "It has been a concern of mine."

Fountain said if the COVID-19 gets out of control or the numbers of new cases rise, the city could have to scale the opening back.

"People know the guidelines," she said. "Everybody has been doing this for more than a month and they know to wash their hands, to social distance, to wear masks. Our businesses can manage that."

Fountain said the Zoom board meetings have worked well.

"We have been able to accomplish anything we can do in person," she said.

The city has been paying employees while they have been sheltering in place.

In other business, the board of aldermen:

• approved Freeport warehouse exemptions for Maurey Manufacturing Corp., Lund Coating Technologies, KP Building Products, Sullivan Metals, CITE Armored,

TLC World Wide Logistics, Cooper Truck Line, American Pacific, and Parker Hannifin Corp.

• approved a pay claim for $2,261 to Slaughter & Associates for creating an annexation plan. The plan has been filed with the court.

• approved filing a resolution for an application for a Community Development Block Grant for drainage improvements.

• approved a CAP loan application for the Holly Springs Fire Department addition and renovation. The plan includes a sleeping quarters and a safe stairwell as a shelter for storms.

• approved a claim for $32,540 from U.S. Lawns for the downtown green space landscaping project.

• approved a claim from Ste-Bil Grading for $84,286 for an erosion control project at Rising Star Road. The city will be reimbursed for $63,215.

• discussed the replacement of the roof on Frazier I at the Sims School campus. Leaking water from the air conditioning system caused damage to both the decking and the roof. The cost to replace the roof is estimated to be in the $40,000 range. G.S. (Selden) Contractors has offered a quote on the job.

Holly Springs South Reporter

P.O. Box 278
Holly Springs, MS 38635
PH: (662) 252-4261
FAX: (662) 252-3388
www.southreporter.com

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