CAIRO — Officials with the City of Cairo are urging residents to use caution in order to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Mayor pro tem Jerry Cox said city staff are “aware of all situations surrounding the threats” to the community and, along with the city council, are “ready to take any action to reduce the risk to the citizens of Cairo.”

With multiple confirmed cases of the virus already detected in southwest Georgia, Cox said it’s likely only a matter of time before a person in the community is stricken with the coronavirus. The mayor pro tem said people should exercise awareness and caution when traveling, keep a distance of six feet from others and should avoid groups of 10 or more individuals. If sick, Cox recommends people stay at home.

“Check your temperature,” the mayor pro tem said. “That’s the first indicator.”

Returning to normal depends on everyone following the rules of social distancing and frequent handwashing, Cox said.

If everyone follows these suggestions, Cox said there may not be a need to declare a local state of emergency.

Cox’s comments came Monday night in a sparsely-attended city council meeting in which attendees each sat at least six feet apart.

The mayor pro tem also recommended that residents support local businesses, which are expected to be hard-hit by the virus — a suggestion echoed by City Manager Chris Addleton.

In a public statement to Cairo residents Tuesday, Cox suggested taking advantage of drive-though or pick up options at local restaurants and recommended practicing social distancing and frequent handwashing at local businesses.

Though some normal methods of operations have changed, such as shutting down public access to city buildings, Addleton said the city remains committed to providing people essential services. The city manager suggested that citizens be proactive in making their utilities payments and not wait until power is cutoff to work out a payment plan with the city.

“We’ll be working with anybody and everybody as far as payments,” he said.

Addleton asked for “patience and understanding” in placing requests for non-essential services on the back burner.

Utilities customers are urged to avoid personal contact with customer service representatives by using alternative methods of payment such as online services, drive-though options, the drop box, telephone or mail.

Addleton also requested that residents limit non-emergency calls to allow for resources to be as fully devoted to responding to the coronavirus as possible.

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