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City crews place orange barricades to reserve parking for to-go orders

City public works employee Jody Martin places barrier to reserve parking spaces in front of Moe's barbecue. City public works employee Jody Martin places barrier to reserve parking spaces in front of Moe's barbecue.

The city of Hendersonville and LoveHendo, the organization quickly formed this week to support restaurants and other local businesses during the coronavirus restrictions, have put up bright orange barriers on Main Street reserving parking space for customers picking up to-go orders.

The Hendersonville City Council heard about the effort during an emergency meeting Friday morning, during which the council also adopted policies to accommodate telecommuting and discussed carrying on public meetings in a safe way.

Downtown Economic Development Director Lew Holloway said the lovehendo.com website is designed to "create a social media buzz" to raise awareness of gift cards to boost small businesses' cash flow. The effort has been well-received by downtown merchants, he said.

City Manager John Connet explain the steps that led to the city's declaration of a state of emergency on Friday and presented a series of recommended policies on preventing the spread of infectious disease, a temporary employee leave and working from home.

Here are highlights:

Infectious disease: The city will form a committee to monitor and coordinate activities in an infectious disease outbreak like the current one. Employees who exhibit symptoms on the job may be required to go home and stay home until they're symprtom-free. The policy asks all city employees to follow public health guidelines for preventing the spread of a virus including hand washing and frequent cleaning of work spaces.

Business travel: The city manager may suspend all non-essential travel. Business travel should be limited to business that cannot be conducted eletronically. To reduce risk, employees are discouraged from personal travel to an area where there is sustained community transmission.

Social distancing: Employees should conduct business by phone, email or on-line conferencing when possible. If an in-person meeting is required, the employees should choose a room large enough to maintain distance from one another.

Temporary leave: The policy relaxes current rules to allow the use of any form of accrued leave to self-isolate. Employees who have pending transferred sick leave will be awarded the sick leave immediately. A temporary telecommunting policy will set rules for working from home. Positions approved for working from home will be determined on a case by case basis. The employee is responsible for maintaining the same level of production as if he or she were in the city facility. Employees working from home must guard against cyber threats, phishing attempts and computer viruses.

"We are in a very good position to work from home," Connet said. "Most administration positions can work from home."

After adopting the three coronavirus-related policies, the council also decided to move ahead with its April 2 meeting in a way that maintains separation while also allowing public participation. City communications director Allison Nock livestreamed the meeting on Facebook.

Council member Jeff Miller praised the previous council "for having the wisdom to hire" Connet as city manager. Connet had strengthened the city's professional staff by young, tech-savvy leaders, he added.

"I just think we’re so flipping lucky to have had y'all to take the helm," he said.

 

 

 

 

This is a developing story. Return to the Lightning for more.