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Cedartown administration planning phased opening of city facilities

With easing of restrictions, the City of Cedartown has been working out ways to allow people back into outdoor spaces while keeping in mind the requirements for social distancing.

During the May session of the Cedartown Commission, City Manager Bill Fann provided a glimpse at what those plans look like — assuming that state orders don’t interrupt their plans.

Peek Park is the first of the city’s facilities that will be reopening to the public, but on a limited basis and keeping social distancing rules in place. Fann said that signage will be posted providing guidance for people to use the common walking areas on sidewalks, the pavilion for those who want to come and eat, and the resurfaced tennis courts when park access is officially allowed again.

He said the city is looking as soon as May 15 to allow people to come back to the park.

Though much of the space will be allowed to reopen, Fann did say that because of the lack of resources to keep the playground and bathrooms clean, those parts of the park will remain closed. He also added that anyone who wants to use the pavilion will have to keep their distance and limit their time within the area. No large groups will be permitted to gather in the park.

Peek Park so far is the only city facility that is set to open back up this month. It joins the walking track at the Nathan Dean Sports Complex and Aragon’s walking track at Pittman Park and the Mill Pond as local spaces that are opening back up.

“Everything else is going to remain closed until we can figure out how to open our facilities safely and within the proper guidelines,” he said.

A tentative date to reopen city hall is also set for on or around June 1, Fann said. Plans are still in the works on how to safely allow for public access while ensuring staff health and safety, and that additional supplies of personal protective equipment are coming to provide additional protections for those who need to come to city hall.

Fann said that opening up additional offices within the city will have to be considered as the situation develops heading into this summer.

He is encouraging people to take advantage of their use of online payments to ensure they are keeping up with bill payments and contacting the city for guidance and help. Visit Cedartowngeorgia.gov to continue to follow along with city plans and guidance on openings as the information becomes available.


Local
New Georgia unemployment claims increase slightly from last week

ATLANTA — Nearly 243,000 Georgians filed initial unemployment claims last week, a slight increase over the 228,352 filed the previous week, the state Department of Labor reported Thursday.

That brings to more than 1.8 million the number of initial claims submitted to the agency since the middle of March, when the coronavirus pandemic began prompting Georgia businesses to shut down and lay off workers.

With some of those laid off employees now losing their jobs permanently, the labor department has developed a program that will allow employer-filed partial unemployment claims to be converted to individual claims. The Claims Conversion Program will begin next week.

“This program will allow employees who are permanently laid off the opportunity to instantly convert their claim to an individual one ensuring continued benefits without having to refile their claim,” Georgia Commissioner of Labor Mark Butler said.

The new program will replace the past system that forced permanently laid off employees to file an individual unemployment claim, a process now taking more than 30 days.

The labor department has issued more than $2.4 billion in combined state and federal unemployment benefits during the last eight weeks. Of the 1,840,365 initial claims filed, 812,281 qualified to receive benefits and 575,000 Georgians received their first payment.

“That is more recipients than the past four years combined,” Butler said.

During the past eight weeks, the most initial unemployment claims – 493,600 — have come from the accommodation and food services sector. The health care and social assistance category is a distant second, with 221,519 claims, followed by retail trade with 211,032 claims.


Local
Rockmart plans phased reopening of city facilities, but no recreation sports yet

The Rockmart City Council heard from residents who just want to allow their kids to play little league baseball and softball this year, but their reply for the moment is “not yet.”

Rockmart’s City Council met for the first time in person since the COVID-19 pandemic required a shutdown of gatherings of more than 10 people, and heard from three different representatives who called for the return of youth sports in the city despite concerns about the further spread of the virus.

After a Tuesday afternoon press conference held by Governor Brian Kemp on the current situation, the city had no choice but to keep the teams waiting to come back to play, with Kemp announcing that an extension on bans for large gatherings including recreational sports through month’s end.

Council members and Mayor Sherman Ross all appreciated that people want to get back to their normal lives, but reminded the audience of volunteers and players who came to seek permission to get back on the field that they are subject to orders coming down from the state at this time.

“We’re asking everyone to be patient just a little while longer,” council member Lucile Harris said during her closing comments for the night.

Council members Rick Stone and Joe Henderson said they both sympathized with the parents and youth who came to speak out, but each wanted to make sure that it is absolutely safe for children in recreation sports and those who come out to watch — like grandparents in a vulnerable population who might have worse health outcomes if contracting COVID-19.

So at least for the spring, recreation sports remain off the field for the time.

In the meantime, City Manager Jeff Ellis went over plans for how to safely re-open city facilities while maintaining the safety and the productivity of the staff. He said during Tuesday’s meeting one of the issues has been working departments on a staggered schedule, which is cutting down on the timeliness of assignments being carried out.

The City of Rockmart will also be taking a phased approach to coming back fully online over the coming weeks and months. Ellis said that Phase 1 of that plan began on May 11, when City Hall was reopened back to the entire staff, but kept closed to the public minus their May session.

City employees are still having to go through the same social distancing and sanitation guidelines that other businesses are undertaking, and during the first week back are spending time cleaning all the potential surfaces that could be touched by the public to ensure that every spot possible is sanitized.

The second phase begins on May 18, when public facilities at city hall open back up to the public on a weekday-only schedule, and from the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ellis said in a report to the city on the plan that the hours will give employees time to go through sanitation routines at the beginning and end of the work days. Hand sanitizing stations will be setup throughout city hall and other facilities as well.

Plans are also to monitor and enforce social distancing for the public, and to keep groups of 10 or less from congregating around the city’s facilities. Additionally, business activities will be limited to just what local residents must complete at city hall, and then they will be expected to head home.

During each phase of opening, the city is encouraging people to use online or by phone payments to avoid having to come to public facilities.

The third phase of the reopening plan is set for mid-June, when Gov. Kemp’s most current order expires and allows for reopening of additional city facilities for public use. That will include rentals for the Nathan Dean Community Center, the Depot building and the Women’s Club House as of June 15.

Additionally, if classes can maintain 10 or less people at a time, the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center will be allowed to re-open for people to utilize as well.

The Rockmart Library also looks to reopen on June 15, with social distancing restrictions in place as well. Unless those are lifted by the state prior to the mid-June expiration of orders.

A fourth phase will take place through the summer, with the goal in mind to begin with some recreation facilities starting at the beginning of July, and others come back starting in August.

First on the list is the outdoor Tennis and Pickleball courts, which are planned for a July 1 re-opening so long as the situation doesn’t change between now and early summer. Additionally, outdoor basketball courts are going to remain closed until the beginning of July.

The memorandum from the city on the plan to re-open facilities made the position on spring sports clear: because of the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association and the Georgia High School Athletic Association both postponed seasons indefinitely, and the National Little League organizers called off the 2020 Little League World Series and playoffs, all spring sports are postponed indefinitely.

“Social distancing and gatherings of 10 or less cannot be maintained not only subjecting the kids to unsafe conditions but that of parents and grandparents and those persons in attendance that have compromised immunity disorders,” the memo stated.

The plan however is to return to fall sports for the 2020 season beginning on August 1, to allow for youth football and soccer to begin organizing for their l seasons, with additional information to come on other sports as the situation develops and based on the guidance from Gov. Kemp.

“These recommendations are based on information received from those organizations listed and area Recreational programs to include but not limited to the recreation departments of the City of Cartersville, City of Cedartown, Calhoun and others,” the memo went on. “Although dates may vary, purpose and intent apply.”


Local
Primary early voting begins again following wait for COVID pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic required primaries in Georgia to be pushed back from March and May to a combined date coming up on June 9, and now voters are finally able to get back to the polls and cast their ballots for Presidential, state and local offices.

Officials are ready to open back up for business starting on May 18 to allow voters to return to take part in the combined primaries at the Board of Elections office in Cedartown for the next three weeks, and open up the Rockmart precinct for the final week ahead of the June 9 primary day.

When the primary was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Polk County had already recorded 980 ballots between the Cedartown and Rockmart precincts in the presidential primary. Those who have already voted will have those ballots counted already, and will only have to vote in state and local primaries on GOP or Democratic ballots.

The Cedartown precinct at the Board of Elections office reported 620 early voters at the time in March, and Rockmart had 360 ballots cast.

Voters are still being asked to consider going ahead using an absentee ballot for the 2020 primaries, but should they want to come vote in person they’ll have the option — with social distancing requirements in place.

Those who come to the Board of Elections office will have to wait in line with six feet of distance between each person, with a limit of 18 people in line or voting at any given time. Elections Coordinator Brande Coggins said voters will be directed toward the office, and that only half of the voting machines will be in use to keep up with distancing requirements as well.

“We’ll also be sanitizing the machines after each use to ensure that we’re keeping voters safe,” Coggins said. “We’re also currently planning on having people exit through the side door of the building so they won’t have to backtrack to the front.”

Procedures to keep people coming into the Board of Elections office safe will be followed when the Rockmart precinct opens as well.

Three weeks of advanced voting starts at the Board of Elections office on May 18 through May 22 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and continuing on that schedule following Memorial Day on May 26 through May 29, and a Saturday voting opportunity on May 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hours for June 1, 3 and 5 will continue with a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule, but extended hours are planned for June 2 and 4 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Rockmart’s precinct at the Nathan Dean Community Center will only be open for a week of in-person advanced voting starting on June 1 and continuing through June 4 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and shortened hours on Friday, June 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Absentee ballots can still be obtained by calling the office at 770-749-2103, and will be available for voters to have mailed to the house for the next several weeks. All absentee ballots must be returned by the Primary day on June 9.

Coggins added that those who change their mind and don’t want to vote by mail but received a ballot to fill out and return can still come to a precinct and turn in their paper ballot, so long as it hasn’t been marked in any way or sealed in the envelope to return it. She said voters will still have to sign an affidavit reporting they have not marked the absentee ballot they turned back in to be eligible to vote in person instead.


Local
Chamber COVID-19 Resource Guide

Editor’s note: The following partial resource guide was made available to the Standard Journal courtesy of the Polk County Chamber of Commerce. We thank Executive Director Blair Elrod for compiling this useful information. Find the full online version of this resource guide at polkgeorgia.com or the Chamber’s Facebook page. — KM

Georgia DPH Recommendations and Guidelines

There are some common-sense measures everyone can take to protect themselves and others from the spread of respiratory illnesses including coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

♦ Wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds at a time.

♦ Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

♦ Avoid close contact with people who are ill.

♦ Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

♦ Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.

♦ Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.

It is also good practice to start being more aware of the number of times a day your hands touch an object or hard surface and then touch your face without being washed. Limiting the exposure of your nose, mouth, and eyes to unwashed hands can help to protect from the spread of all germs and illnesses.

It is not recommended that people wear masks if they are well or stockpile them. Masks should be worn by people who are sick to prevent the spread of infection.

DPH has also provided guidance on considerations of people with disabilities and other access and functional needs for COVID-19.

People at higher risk for severe illness

Older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease and those with weakened immune systems seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. Early data suggest older people are twice as likely to have serious COVID-19 illness. Learn more.

Pregnant women and children

Some pregnant women may be more susceptible to viral respiratory infections, including COVID-19. There is no evidence that children are more susceptible to COVID-19. The CDC has information specifically for pregnant women and children.

People who have recently traveled outside the US

If you have recently traveled to any country with a Level 2 or Level 3 Travel Health Notice for COVID-19 and are experiencing fever and respiratory symptoms, you should call your doctor or health department and describe your symptoms and where you traveled.

People who think they’ve been exposed to COVID-19

If you think you may have been exposed to the COVID-19 and develop symptoms, you may need to seek medical attention. Learn more about exposure and symptoms.

Household preparedness

The CDC recommends households have a plan of action to prepare for a COVID-19 outbreak. People should think about having daily necessities and medications to last about two weeks, in case they need to isolate. Massive stock piling of supplies is not necessary.

Individuals and families should have a plan in case they need to miss work due to illness or need to care for a sick family member. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also released a list of cleaning products to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Watch for symptoms

Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.

These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure (based on the incubation period of MERS-CoV viruses).

♦ Fever

♦ Cough

♦ Shortness of breath

♦ Chills

♦ Repeated shaking with chills

♦ muscle pain

♦ headache

♦ sore throat

♦ new loss of taste or smell

When to Seek Medical Attention

♦ If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. Emergency warning signs include:

♦ Trouble breathing

♦ Persistent pain or pressure in the chest

♦ New confusion or inability to arouse

♦ Bluish lips or face

♦ This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

Online faith services

Here’s a list of the churches that are currently providing their services online, and where to find them. Have we missed one? Email kmyrick@polkstandardjournal.net to let us know.

Pleasant Hope Baptist Church — https://www.facebook.com/PleasantHopeSilverCreek/

Restoration Church Cedartown — https://www.facebook.com/Restoration-Church-Cedartown-473806403441541/

North Church — https://www.facebook.com/gonorthchurch/

101 Church — https://www.facebook.com/101church/

Antioch Baptist — https://www.facebook.com/antiochcedartown/

First Baptist Rockmart — https://www.facebook.com/FirstBaptistRockmart/

Second Baptist of Cedartown — https://www.facebook.com/sbcedartown

First Baptist Cedartown — https://www.facebook.com/firstbaptistcedartown/

Rockmart First United Methodist — https://www.facebook.com/RockmartFUMC/

St. Bernadette’s Catholic Church — https://www.facebook.com/StBernadette04/

Cedartown First United Methodist — https://www.facebook.com/CedartownFirstUnitedMethodistChurch/

New Prospect Baptist — https://www.facebook.com/newprospectrockmart/

Bellview Baptist — https://www.facebook.com/bellviewbaptist

Victory Baptist — https://www.facebook.com/victorybaptistchurchrockmart/

Crossview Church — https://www.facebook.com/crossview.church.3/?hc_location=ufi

Cross Factor Church — https://www.facebook.com/CrossFactorChurch/

New Beginnings Apostolic — https://www.facebook.com/nbapostolic/

The Church of God of Union Assemby Polk — https://m.facebook.com/TheChurchOfGodOfTheUnionAssemblyPolk

Spring Creek Rome — https://www.springcreekrome.com/

Ware’s Grove Baptist — https://www.facebook.com/Wares-Grove-Baptist-Church-354837571677582/

Anna Kresge United Methodist Church — https://www.facebook.com/KresgeUMC/

Harmony Baptist Church — https://www.facebook.com/Harmony-Baptist-Church-Cedartown-GA-1399735593436496/

Cedar Lake Christian Center — https://www.facebook.com/clccnet.org/

Shiloh Baptist Church — https://www.facebook.com/shiloh.baptist.777

Aragon Baptist Church — https://www.facebook.com/aragonbaptist.church.1

Restaurant offering delivery or takeout

Here’s a list of restaurants compiled by the Chamber currently doing delivery or takeout as of Saturday, April 4. Have we missed one? Email kmyrick@polkstandardjournal.net to let us know.

Pizza Depot — 406 N. Piedmont Ave., Rockmart — to-go, delivery and drive-thru service — 770-684-3595

Johnny’s Pizza — 1735 Nathan Dean Bypass, Rockmart — offering to-go and delivery — 770-684-7700

Ideal Bakery — 509 S. Main St., Cedartown — offering to-go and curbside — 770-748-3016

Sidekicks BBQ & Steaks — Offering to-go and drive-thru — 770-684-7086

Arby’s — 1301 Nathan Dean Pkwy., Rockmart — Drive thru service open — 678-757-9589.

El Nopal Rockmart — 1422 Chattahoochee Drive, Rockmart — offering to-go and curbside — 770-684-0224

Krystal’s — 623 N. Main St., Cedartown — Drive thru open — 770-748-5703

McDonald’s in both Cedartown and Rockmart — Drive thru open

Taco Bell in Cedartown and Rockmart — Drive thru open (In Cedartown, limited Dine-in Service available)

El Nopal Cedartown — 1494 Rome Highway, Cedartown — to-go and curbside — 770-748-7073

Timbo’s — 1063 Nathan Dean Bypass, Rockmart — offering to-go service — 678-685-4476

R & R Catering — 1194 East Ave., Cedartown — 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday — Delivery fees are waived and a menu can be found here: https://www.randrcateringevents.com/our-story — 706-676-8707

The Steak House — 414 Baldwin Road, Rockmart — offering to-go service — 770-684-0401

The Border — 718 N. Main St., Cedartown — offering to-go and drive thru — 678-246-1031

Tequila — 1703 Nathan Dean Bypass, Rockmart — offering to-go service — 770-684-4454

Chick-fil-A Rockmart — 1500 Chattahoochee Drive, Rockmart — drive thru open — 470-632-0411

Chick N Scratch Bakery — 103 S. Marble St., Rockmart — offering to go service — 678-685-4476

Kizuna Hibachi — 1579 Rome Highway, Cedartown — Offering to go service — 678-901-1388.

Lively’s BBQ and Breakfast — 1207 S. Main St., Cedartown — drive-thru service only — 770-748-1130

Hometown Pizza and Grill — 246 W. Elm St., Rockmart — offering to go and delivery service — 770-684-8688

Linda’s Place — 480 Nathan Dean Bypass, Rockmart — to go, curbside and delivery — 770-684-3467

Jefferson’s of Cedartown — 901 N. Main St., Cedartown — to go only, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. — Call 770-748-4777 for more information. (As of beginning of May offering limited dine-in service.)

Zaxby’s of Cedartown and Rockmart — drive thru only

Burger King of Cedartown — drive thru only

Dairy Queen of Cedartown and Rockmart — drive thru only

Captain D’s of Cedartown and Rockmart — drive thru only

Checkers of Cedartown — drive thru still available

{div}Taqueria Michoana = 511 West Ave., Cedartown — offering to-go — call 770-748-5858

Local businesses offering online shopping options

Here’s a list of local businesses provided by the Chamber that are offering online shopping opportunities, and the links to find them. Have a business to share? Email kmyrick@polkstandardjournal.net to share.

The Perch on Marble — 116 N. Marble St., Rockmart — http://www.theperchonmarble.com/ — online store with a variety of items from fashion to home and garden accessories.

The Brave Sparrow — 557A N. Main St., Cedartown — https://www.facebook.com/thebravesparrow66/ — photos of inventory online, can also call 678-901-1133

Jasper and Jade Boutique — 835 Cherokee Circle, Cedartown — https://jasperandjade.commentsold.com/ — Login with Facebook or Instagram to shop

Now and Then — 106 E. Church St., Rockmart — https://www.facebook.com/nowandthenofrockmart/?hc_location=ufi — Variety of items available, including some for Easter!

Remix at Moore’s — Variety of items being prepackaged and can be picked up at https://www.facebook.com/mooresremix/.

Berkleigh Mae’s Boutique — near the corner of Elm and Marble St., Rockmart — https://berkleighmaesboutique.com/ Infant, baby and children’s clothing and accessories , plus items for mom’s and dad’s

The Clay Birch — 1075 Nathan Dean Bypass, Rockmart — https://theclaybirch.com/ — fashion, jewelry and accessories

Rockin’ Rooster and Happy Hen — 401 N. Piedmont Ave., Rockmart — https://www.facebook.com/rockinroosterhappyhen/ antiques, collectibles, and more

White Tulip Market — 210 S. Marble St., Rockmart — https://www.whitetulipmarket.com/ — fashion, jewelry, accessories, soaps and candles, home decor

Holmes Clothing Company — 235 Main St., Cedartown — https://www.facebook.com/HolmesClothingCo/ — photos of inventory online, but offering appointments for customers.

COVID-19 disinfection services

Enterprise Pest Management — 678-901-3525

Hull’s Environmental Services — 678-909-5282

Certi-Clean — Call Jody Guice at 770-546-5322

Think we’ve missed something we should include? Email kmyrick@polkstandardjournal.net to tell us.