The Clarksdale Board of Mayor and Commissioners voted Monday to extend the city’s COVID-19 decree that residents continue to wear masks and for businesses to follow social distancing mandates.
This marked the 13th Executive Order by Clarksdale Mayor Chuck Espy dealing with the pandemic that began in Clarksdale on March 18. While the executive order does not carry the legal weight of an ordinance, it does allow police to ask residents to put on a mask, disperse or follow other coronavirus restrictions.
Discussion Monday centered on a new paragraph which states all citizens and visitors shall wear masks outside of their homes upon entering any business, restaurant or other gathering, whether
inside or outside within the city limits of Clarksdale.
“When you go to Walmart of Dollar General we want you and employees there to wear masks,” said Mayor Chuck Espy. “Basically if you step outside your residence you need to wear your mask at all times.”
Basic restriction strongly encourages wearing a mask while in public places; avoid large gatherings; maintain social distancing; practice good hygiene; and stay at home is you feel sick.
The details of the city’s executive order are:
Group gatherings when social distancing is not possible; Indoor - no more than 20 people; Outdoor - no more than 100 people.
Face coverings - every person shall wear a face covering while inside a school building or outdoors on school campus; exceptions provided.
Restaurants and Bars - ensure at least six feet of separation; limit parties to ten people per table; alcohol served only to customers that are seated; no alcohol sold between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.; self-service buffet and food stations prohibited; cafeteria style is permitted if served by a worker.
Reception Halls and Conference Centers - customers no greater than 50-percent of maximum seating capacity; food services are restricted to the limitations listed above.
Public Buildings – Limited to 50-percent capacity; social distancing six feet.
Close Contact and Personal Care Services - Salons, barber shops, spas, massage parlors, personal care, body art, tanning salons - employee wear mask, wash hands between customers; customer wear mask; social distancing six feet; customers screened
The city’s emergency order expires Monday, Oct. 26. The state’s Safe Recovery order expires Nov. 11.
In other business:
• Heard from Milton Gardner who told commissioner the city, under the direction of Mayor Chuck Espy, has rescinded its ordinance prohibiting panhandling on city streets.
“The ACLU has put municipalities on notice not to bar panhandling as it violates a person’s freedom of speech,” said Gardner. “I have done it – I don’t like to – but I do what I have to do.”
The city has recently cracked down on people approaching people outside restaurants and loitering downtown.
Gardner said the ACLU named 13 cities, including Clarksdale, as cities that prohibited panhandling and Clarksdale is one of three municipalities that have said it will not enforce the ordinance.
• Acknowledged the 2020-21 Amnesty Program for Court waiving the arrest warrant fees if court
fines are paid in full, effective from Oct. 15, through April 30, 2021.
• The city voted to pay William Moore, $5,000 for damages to a vehicle when a tree fell on it during the Easter storm.
• Granted permission for Police Chief Sandra Williams to attend a panel discussion at Tougaloo College on Oct. 14.
•Authorized police corporal Peters and private Thomas to attend state training for impaired
driving Oct. 13-15, in Ridgeland.
• Authorized the City Clerk to attend the election training in Jackson, Dec. 9-11.
• Authorized the City Clerk pay miscellaneous claims to: Chuck Espy, $437.76; Neel-Schaffer, $14,806.78; Cornerstone Services, $ 4,208.25
• Allowed Elizabeth Polk to make payments of $50 per month on her cleanup of 223 Alabama until paid in full.
• Acknowledged a state grant for $10,254 to pay for police overtime during the pandemic.