story by staff reporter Nora Drenner
Coronavirus continues to change lives in Sabine Parish as officials respond to the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to fight the spread of coronavirus.
On March 16, Police Jury President Mike McCormic and Sabine Parish Homeland Security and Office of Emergency Preparedness Director David Davis declared a state of emergency for the community.
Also announced were two presumptive coronavirus cases in the parish. Testing on the two have been completed and results are awaiting.
McCormic told Around the Town that beginning at midnight March 17, all eateries within the parish including those in Many, Zwolle, Converse, Fisher, Florien, Noble, Pleasant Hill, Negreet and Ebarb are limited to take out, delivery and drive though services. There is no inside restaurant dining until further notice, however, officials are hopeful that ban can be lifted in mid- April.
Governor Edwards later in the day placed the same ban on restaurants and he also ordered the closing of bars, movie theaters, casinos and gyms throughout the state.
Additionally, noted McCormic, the parish has banned the public gathering of folks numbered 50 or more, with the same statewide gathering limit later announced by Gov. Edwards.
And, while parish government offices in the courthouse remain open for business, all persons will have to enter through the front door. A law enforcement officer will be manned at the door to scan the temperature of all wanting to enter. Those exhibiting a fever will be turned away.
The town of Many also held a special meeting March 16 to enact precautions.
As a result, the town hall will close to the public beginning March 17 and continuing through May 3. Staff and employees will continue to work, and all town services will continue as scheduled.
Folks will continue to remit all water payments, tax payments, occupational license and ticket fines by the regular due date. Payments can be made via the drive through drop box for cash and check only, by mailing or via a credit card by calling the town hall.
Furthermore, the town will not disconnect any water meters until May 4 in an effort help contain the virus and encourage proper hygiene and handwashing.
All town council meetings, court, committee meetings, and activities at the Many Community Center are also cancelled until May 4.
Lastly, the town of Many is strictly enforcing its curfew for minors that states it is unlawful for any person under the age of 17 to be on the street between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and between midnight and 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The exception is for those minors accompanied by a parent or guardian.
The Many police will continue to patrol the streets, said mayor Ken Freeman.
Both the parish and town officials reviewed the Sabine Parish Government Emergency Operation Plan to be prepared for the worst and like all, they are hoping for the best.