By Kevin Edwards
BC Staff Writer
With the coronavirus crisis growing, what started as recommendations are now becoming orders throughout Bolivar County.
The Cleveland Board of Aldermen voted to declare a state of local emergency in response to the coronavirus crisis.
As of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, the public entrances to all municipal buildings and facilities in Cleveland are temporarily closed to the public and will not be re-opened until further notice.
This includes facilities such as the Cleveland-Bolivar County Animal Shelter, Public Works, the Martin and Sue King Railroad Heritage Museum, Community Development, Parks and Recreation and City Hall.
Contact with city officials is still possible in a variety of ways that are not face-to-face, such as phone and email.
The Cleveland Police Department, Municipal Court and Municipal Airport will still be fully accessible.
All restaurants will be prohibited from providing in-house dining services or their sitting areas to the public.
Such restaurants may provide take-out, pick-up, delivery or drive-through services for their customers instead.
All bars, nightclubs, lunges, event centers, taverns and private clubs are closed to the extent that such establishments may provide take-out and other services if they offer food.
All municipal parks and recreational facilities are prohibited to holding gatherings of more than 10 people for the foreseeable future.
Boyle has also acted, with Mayor Tommy Taylor announcing that town hall facilities will be closed to the general public effective Wednesday at 10 a.m.
The Boyle Police Department and other critical services will remain open.
Mound Bayou Mayor Eulah Peterson said that no facilities have been closed but steps have been taken to reduce traffic in city hall.
Usage of city hall facilities for anything other than official business has been temporarily stopped.
Businesses have been asked to abide by the 10-person gathering limit.
“In our city clerk’s office, we have a partition in front of the counter so that people are not able to interact directly with spreading (the virus),” Peterson said. “We’ve just kind of narrowed that down. There are only two people at any given time in the clerk’s office. If I’m there, then three, so we don’t have a lot of traffic in there.
“As we move forward, we’ll take a look at whether we need to change, modify some of our current actions based on where we are and the board has to make the decision in terms of whether we’re going to close anything or required things be closed or any of that.”
Rosedale Mayor Carey Estes said Wednesday Rosedale was in the process of finalizing an order closing bars and lounges and establishing a limitation of public gatherings to 10 people.
Estes said a drop box would be installed this week so that people with business or bills to pay can still get those things done.
Shaw Mayor Evereth Stanton said people are still allowed to come to the city hall building to conduct business but the town is continuing to monitor the situation and is asking that public gatherings of more than 10 people be halted.
Private businesses such as gas stations, grocery stores and others entities may alter their hours of their own accord but will not be closing as a result of any order.