City of Florence closes council meetings to public amid rise in COVID-19 numbers


FLORENCE, Ala. — Until further notice, Florence City Council meetings will operate a little differently.

The city released that effective Tuesday, November 17, there will be more restrictions to the number of people allowed inside the city auditorium.

City Council President Dick Jordan said there were already mask and social distancing guidelines but new measures are necessary with the increase in positive cases.

“We’ve had over 600 new cases in the last 14 days in Lauderdale County and we’ve made some changes in our meetings to help, maybe, reduce the number of new cases,” Jordan said.

One change is that members of the public wearing masks may be admitted into the auditorium one at a time to speak only on agenda items before the council votes. They will be given a maximum of one minute to speak.

There will be no comments from the public for items not on the agenda. However, Jordan said there are other ways people can still have their voices be heard.

“They can call the mayor’s office or the city council’s office with their questions and whatever pertains to the councilman’s district, the council person can call them back with the answer to the question or meet them on an individual basis if they feel,” Jordan said.

Members of the press will be allowed in the meetings as long as they wear a face covering and maintain a six-foot social distance.

Although the meetings are closed to the public, they will be live-streamed on the City of Florence Facebook page.