Mayor Black Speaks about Curfew, Gatherings and Overcrowding in Businesses

April 06, 2020

FROM THE MAYOR’S OFFICE 4-6-2020

I have been asked, why Dewitt does not have a curfew? These questions started after Stuttgart’s City Council voted to start one during a special meeting Monday night March 30th. The ordinance was passed to help enforce the governor’s directive limiting public gatherings to 10 or less. They are doing what they believe is in the best interest of their community to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and I commend them for that.

In Dewitt, we are not seeing a problem with people gathering. We have had one group that we asked to disperse, and they did. At some later time, we may need to impose a curfew, but for now this is what we are going to do. We are going to talk with the folks that are congregating and ask them to disperse. If we have to go back and ask again, then we will speak with parents, grandparents, relatives, community and church leaders or property owners, whomever we think would do the most good, and ask them to

speak with the people in violation. This way they are hearing the message again, but from people they know.

I am going to try this approach. In the end, we don’t have the manpower to make everyone self distance. Please take this responsibility seriously. It’s also important to understand that a city ordinance only applies within the city limits, not out in the county.

I have also been asked about church groups. The Governor’s Proclamation, EO 20-10 dated March 26,2020 under 1c addresses this. It says that this directive, does not apply to businesses, manufacturers, construction companies and places of worship, among others. In section 1d, it also states that the Secretary of Health reserves the right to make changes to these exceptions, if in his opinion, it becomes necessary to prevent the spread of disease. Most churches have voluntarily limited their worship services to live streaming and curtailed most of their other gatherings. But at this time, it has not been mandated by the governor. However, I would ask those churches to please consider suspending any church activity that groups people together, until we get past this virus.

Another topic I would like to address is the overcrowding that is taking place at some of our local businesses. What I would ask is they consider limiting the number of customers in the store at one time and provide at least 6 feet of space between customers at the check out counter. If you’re not already doing this, then anything you can do to help would be appreciated.

In closing, I commend everyone for doing their part to help us get through this with the lowest infection possible. We all have a duty and responsibility to do our best to limit the spread of this virus. As of today, we only have one positive test in the county. If we can continue this trend for a few more weeks, I hope we will be on the downhill side of the infection slope.

Again, we must wash our hands, keep them away from our face and keep our distance, 6 feet, from others. Please remember this, especially when you are out in public or standing in line.

If you know someone that needs help getting food or medical supplies to their residence, please contact the mayor’s office at 870-946-1776. Thanks again for your help. We will get through this!

Sincerely,

Jimmy Black, Mayor