Many city services, programs and facilities have been canceled, postponed or shut down during the last two weeks as the COVID-19 virus threatened to spread, but a Spanish Fork City official is encouraging residents to live their lives as normally as possible.
“We’re all in this together,” said Spanish Fork City Public Information Officer Scott Aylett. “We’re all in the same situation, trying to get through this kind of evolving issue that we’re all facing, and if we can approach it as a community and be cognizant of one another’s needs, it will make it a little bit easier for us to get those this.”
City officials began holding emergency meetings to determine how to respond to the virus threat a little over a week ago. Closures of facilities such as the city library, senior citizens center and rental spaces at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds quickly followed.
The city’s first goal was to slow the spread of the virus, Aylett said. However, city officials were also considering what city services could be maintained or how they could be adapted to keep providing some level of service.
For example, the Spanish Fork Library has been closed and its activities canceled, but residents can still obtain books. Library staff members are still working in the building and will honor hold requests from patrons made online or by phone, Aylett said.
As library materials become available, staff will contact patrons letting them know. Residents can then go to the library and call library staff when they arrive; a staff member will bring the materials to their car.
“So our residents can still use the library without necessarily being at the library,” Aylett said.
Returned library materials are being cleaned and then left to sit untouched for a few days before being redistributed to the public. Residents can also access library e-books and audio books via the internet.
Aylett said the city has also been considering how to keep services going should employees become sick.
“Every department has been given direction by the mayor, the city council and the city manager to draft a contingency plan for staffing if there were a need for quarantine or self-isolation,” he said.
Staff members who go out to homes such as building inspectors or SFCN employees have been instructed to ask residents questions such as if anyone in the home is showing symptoms or if they’ve traveled recently.
Police dispatchers are asking similar questions so emergency responders know what to expect before they arrive at a call.
“Every department has really been touched in one way or another,” Aylett said.
The city has a number of facilities it rents to the public at The Oaks at Spanish Fork golf course and at the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds. The city is contacting individuals who have rental dates coming up to see if rescheduling is an option.
Aylett said he hadn’t heard of anyone at the city receiving negative feedback despite the many closures and difficulties. “I think for the most part, the public understands the measures the different organizations are taking to slow the spread,” he said.
Aylett recommended the public follow the CDC recommendations for social distancing and avoid panic and impulse buying of items others may need.
“Try and live your life as normally as you possibly can,” Aylett said. “Try and do what you would typically do, recognizing that you may not be able to go to the places you would typically go.”
Programs, activities and facilities canceled, closed or postponed by Spanish Fork City include the following:
• All activities at the Spanish Fork Senior Center have been cancelled, including classes, programs and lunches.
• All scheduled city recreation programs have been postponed through Monday, March 30. Rescheduling of these events will be re-evaluated after March 30. A list of all events and their status is available at spanishfork.org/calendar.
• All scheduled programs, activities and events at the Spanish Fork Library have been canceled through March 30, at which point they will be re-evaluated. A list of all events and their status is available at spanishfork.org/calendar.
• Spanish Fork Youtheatre’s production of “Frozen Jr.,” originally scheduled for March 24-28, has been postponed until a later date.
As of Tuesday, the Spanish Fork City offices remained open to the public. However, those seeking to reduce public interaction may conduct city business through other means, including the following:
• Pay utility bills online, by phone, or mail. More information is available online at spanishfork.org/departments/finance/pay_utility_bill.php.
• Sign up for utilities online at spanishfork.org/departments/finance/sign_up_termination.php.
• Sign up for recreation programs at reconline.spanishfork.org.