By Judith Brown, Staff writer
Laurens, South Carolina – After meetings this week with the Laurens County Emergency Management team and city staff, City of Laurens Mayor Nathan Senn declared a state of emergency in the city of Laurens due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
Senn also announced that Main Street Laurens and city-sponsored events will be cancelled through April 17.
The “State of Emergency” declaration is designed to open avenues of funding that will allow the city to be reimbursed for related expenses incurred for emergency supplies and equipment, Senn said.
All city offices, with the exception of the Police Department lobby, will also be closed to the public.
“We want to limit interaction between the public and city staff so we can continue to provide services,” Senn said.
During the press conference Tuesday morning, city department heads explained ways the city will continue to serve the people of Laurens.
“There really will be no change,” said Streets and Sanitation Director Kerwin Tribble. “The trash pick up with be the same,”
City Administrator Gary Coleman said the same for other departments, adding that fire and police would be ready to respond to problems as usual. The biggest difference is that city offices will be closed to the public, so bills and fees can be paid online or by telephone.
The Ridge at Laurens will be closed to the public, said Jason Pridgen, director of Parks and Recreation. However, Pridgen said, the children’s parks will all be kept cleaned and sanitized every weekday. Only Little River Park on East Main Street will be staffed with restrooms open.
Senn said he didn’t want to see businesses closed, and recommended residents support them creatively, urging residents to order takeout food and buy gift certificates for use at a later time.
Tuesday afternoon South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster ordered open dining restaurants to close to on-site dining, though curb service pickups and drive-thrus would still be allowed.
Senn said that while it’s important for the city’s economy to continue during this time, residents must exercise extreme caution.
“The city will continue to serve, and there will be little change in the services,” he said. “All non-essential city employees will work from home, and other staff will be in their offices continuing the work of the city.”
For questions, call Laurens City Hall at 864-984-3933.