The City of Harriman issued a statement over the weekend concerning closings as a precaution of the coronavirus. Here is the statement in its entirety from Harriman Mayor Wayne Best:
“To all citizens and business owners:
Approximately two weeks ago, our City Manager tasked the Fire Department with developing protocols to be put in place should the COVID-19 virus become worse in the United States. At that time the situation was not as severe as it is today, but the city wanted to be prepared for this day which has unfortunately now arrived.
Following a sequence of developments including the cancellation, suspension, and/or closing of numerous activities and events announced nationwide yesterday, along with the statements from Governor Lee and President Trump, the City of Harriman felt it was prudent to implement these protocols at this time to protect our citizens, visitors, and employees. Our city manager and several department heads have spent the day further developing and implementing the safety protocols. This included participating in a White House teleconference briefing, a statewide teleconference briefing held by TEMA, and watching the follow up press conference today held by President Trump and his team put together to develop a plan of action against the COVID-19 virus.
As a result of the timing of the beginning of the outbreak coinciding with the school system being on Spring Break, the city has elected to suspend all recreational activities to limit numerous people coming in contact with one another. Beginning Monday (March 16, 2020) the Harriman Community Center will be closed, and baseball and softball activities have been suspended for at least a week. This action is compliant with guidance provided by Dixie Youth Baseball and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Additionally, the regular Harriman City Council meeting scheduled for March 17, 2020 has been cancelled because the gathering of large groups is strongly discouraged.
For the time being, internal changes will not impact the service delivery you regularly receive from the city. However, you may notice some differences in the way these services are being delivered which is an effort to protect employees from contracting the virus. Some possible examples of the changes you may see are first responders wearing additional personal protective equipment on certain medical calls, patients experiencing flu like symptoms being required to put on a mask as soon as possible, and police officers keeping a greater distance between themselves and the public when possible while still carrying out their regular duties. Please do not take this as employees being unfriendly, as they are simply attempting to follow the CDC recommendation to keep at least six feet from other persons as that is considered the minimum safe distance to prevent contracting the disease while in the presence of someone who has it.
It is our hope all of these actions will be for naught, but we would rather be prepared for an event which turns out to be less dangerous than expected than not be prepared for a major event that sickens numerous citizens and employees. For most people even if you contract the COVID-19 virus, you will recover in time. However, the situation is much more severe for certain people categorized as high risk individuals and may be spread to them by someone who is not even experiencing symptoms of the virus. As a result senior citizens and those who have chronic illnesses, especially those with impaired immune systems, should use extreme caution. In fact, we recommend if you are in the high risk group that you get the supplies you may need for an extended period of time and avoid any contact with other individuals until the virus has subsided.
If the situation does get worse, additional city services could be temporarily impacted as our top priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of our citizens, employees, and their families. If this requires additional measures which delay services, we will implement them while notifying the public of the changes. However, we hope this does not become necessary.
We will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide updates as we receive additional information. Once we receive information indicating the situation has returned to normal, we will begin to resume regular activities and operations.
I would like to commend our employees who have worked tirelessly in putting this plan together while weighing the pros and cons to make these difficult decisions. I would especially like to thank our Public Safety employees who will be on the front line of the response should an outbreak occur in Harriman.
It is my honor and privilege to serve as the Mayor of the City of Harriman, and work with a talented group who make up the City Council. We are all proud to work with an equally talented group of employees dedicated to serving our city. However, the highest honor for me is to serve the people of this great community who I know will do what is needed to work with us to get our city through this emergency situation even if it means experiencing personal inconveniences throughout the process.
The City of Rockwood is also taking precautions. The Rockwood Library will be closed to the public through Saturday, March 21, 2020. If you need to return a book or check out another book, call 354-1281, during these hours and a staff member will arrange it for you. The decision on when to reopen the library will be made by Sunday, March 22, 2020.
The Rockwood Community Center will be closed for all activities through Sunday, March 22, 2020. A decision will be made at that time on when the center will reopen.
All Rockwood City League baseball and softball practices are cancelled through Sunday, March 22nd. A future decision will be made at that time.