City to shut adult daycare doors, close restaurants at 10 p.m.

By BRYAN DAVIS PUBLISHER,

Adult daycares in the city of Indianola will have to close their doors during the duration of the city’s declaration of emergency.

All five Indianola Aldermen joined a special call meeting via the Zoom app on Saturday afternoon and voted unanimously to accept City Attorney Kimberly Merchant’s revision to the March 24 declaration of emergency, which includes shuttering at least five adult daycare facilities within the city limits.

Mayor Steve Rosenthal said he did not have a specific number of adult daycares in town, but he said they found at least five on a Google search.

Rosenthal said Friday that multiple local health care professionals contacted and notified him that they had traced some of the county’s positive COVID-19 patients back to adult daycare centers.

Rosenthal attempted to call a meeting on Friday evening but could not get a quorum.

Ward 3 Alderman Ruben Woods asked at the beginning of the discussion whether the city could implement stricter emergency measures than Gov. Tate Reeves’ most recent shelter-in-place order, which lists numerous businesses as being “essential” under the order.

Merchant said the city was well within its power to implement a stricter curfew, limit the number of people in businesses and order businesses closed at certain hours, but she did advise the aldermen that the issue with the adult daycares is not as cut and dry.

“(Gov. Reeves) doesn’t really define what he means by the term essential, but he does list a number of health care sort of entities when he lists entities, and he uses this term elder care, which is very vague,” Merchant said. “It’s very broad and it’s very vague, so it’s difficult to tell whether he intended to include adult daycares in that terminology.”

Merchant said some in the health care profession do view adult daycares as essential, but Rosenthal made note that no health care is being provided in the businesses.

Merchant said given that no rehabilitation or medical care is being provided, and the city has been advised by local health care providers that the businesses could be unsafe, she supported the city moving forward with closing them as part of the emergency declaration.

Also in the revision, the city has now ordered businesses to limit the number of customers in their stores to allow space for shoppers to properly socially distance themselves.

“These establishments must limit the number of customers who enter at one time to create the space within the establishment needed for social distancing and allow only paying customers to enter and shop to reduce the number of people entering these establishments,” the revision reads in part.

Also, restaurants must now close at 10 p.m. to adhere to the 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. curfew imposed on March 24.

“All restaurants and other eating establishments may continue to serve customers by drive-thru, curbside pick-up and delivery only; however, all restaurants and other eating establishments must discontinue service by 10 p.m.,” the proclamation said. “Employees of these establishments will have until 11 p.m. to return home.”

Ward 4 Alderman Marvin Elder made the motion to adopt Merchant’s revision.

Each alderman voted in favor.

In Other Business

The board had two items on the agenda Saturday, the same as Friday night.

The second led the aldermen and mayor into a closed session to discuss personnel issues related to recommended disciplinary action for two public works employees.

After coming out of executive session, Ward 1 Alderman Gary Fratesi made a motion to suspend the two employees without pay until further notice, pending an appearance before the review board.

This passed unanimously as well. 

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