Sherman announced the closure of multiple public amenities Tuesday in response to ongoing Coronavirus concerns. The decision by Sherman comes as other cities and municipalities, including Denison and Grayson County, to respond to the threat posed by the virus.
On Monday, the city of Denison announced that it would be closing several facilities, including the Denison SNAP Center, Denison Public Library, and Waterloo Pool. Grayson County Commissioners voted to extend a state of emergency declaration Tuesday, and recommended the cancellation of all gatherings of over 50 people.
Sherman officials said that the Sherman senior citizens center will be closed through April 1. This closure will not impact the operation of Meals on Wheels of Texoma, who utilize the space for food prep and operations.
The municipal ballroom and auditorium will also remain closed through the remainder of the month. The Glennie O’Ham Community Center and Taylor Street Gym will also close through April 6.
The city’s municipal court will continue operation, but will have a modified schedule, officials said. The show-cause docket on March 19 will continue as scheduled, but will be conducted by telephone. Defendants can call the court to schedule a time.
If arrangements are not made by March 19, the defendants will be set for the next docket on April 16. The dockets for March 23 and April 2 will be moved to April 27 and May 7, respectively.
No warrants or additional fees will be assessed due to the change in court schedule. Due dates for these dockets will be extended by 30 days, officials said.
Despite the closure of other facilities, the city plans to keep the Sherman Public Library open, but all activities and events have been cancelled through April 1.
The city initially gave an update on the Coronavirus situation during Monday night’s city council meeting, but did not announce any closures or long term plans at that time.
“I wanted to give the audience, council and media an update on what we’ve been working on in great length,” City Manager Robby Hefton said. “With COVID-19, or Coronavirus as it is called … this is an issue that we have been getting daily —hourly— updates on, particularly in the last few days, from the federal government, state government and county government.”
The current practices when dealing with the virus do not focus on curing the virus, but instead limiting the number of people that it can infect through a practice of social distancing, Hefton said.
“There is no cure for this as a virus — It has to run its course,” Hefton said. “All of the recommendations deal with limiting exposure to this virus, socially.”
Over the weekend, the city cancelled the St. Patrick’s Day parade through downtown Sherman, but this was in part do to poor weather, Hefton said.
“We still maintain that there is no need to panic, but we’ve seen a lot of panic in the streets, so to speak through runs on toilet paper and bottled water and other things. While it is wise to have a stock of supplies so that we can all live so that we can live comfortably if we happen to be quarantined … this isn’t one of those situations where there is cause for panic.”
Sherman Emergency Management Coordinator Moises Duran said he is working heavily to coordinate and monitor the situation with both the Sherman Police Department and Sherman Fire-Rescue. The city has already instituted some changes to its emergency dispatch procedures to give more detailed information for calls that may involve the virus.
“”I wanted to let you guys know, and the community, that we are aware of the situation, we are on top of things, we are looking at things,” he said.
If an further declarations were made, they would be coming from the mayor’s office, in conjunction with city emergency personnel, he said.
“We just want to make sure that we are on the forefront but at the same time not act out of panic or out of fear,” Duran said. “We want to be wise, we want to take precautions. but at the same time we don’t want to do things hastily that could have an adverse affect or unnecessary economic effect to our city.”
For more information on the coronavirus, visit http://www.HeraldDemocrat.com/Coronavirus.