Kilgore City government and local businesses are working to adapt operations and remain open during the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.
Mayor Ronnie Spradlin said that the entire city adapted Gregg County’s shelter in place declaration, which city staff has worked to put together into a clear document outlining what that means for the community.
“We put together a tree detailing different trips community members should and should not be making, as well as which businesses are considered essential.” Spradlin said. “These documents are all made available to the public on our website.”
Along with these documents, City Council members were offered the ability to phone into Tuesday’s meeting if they did not want to meet in person.
Spradlin said that all council members chose to attend the meeting, though they made sure to practice social distancing as well as utilizing hand sanitizer and disinfecting the council room.
“I want to encourage people to practice social distancing still. Especially because people can be transmitting the virus and not be aware that they are infected,” Spradlin said.
Local businesses are also adapting to stay open during this time, according to Kilgore Chamber of Commerce President Jill McCartney.
“The majority of our businesses are not actually being affected, because we have a number of essential businesses in the city,” McCartney said.
She said that all businesses remaining open have been working to adopt safety measures to ensure the well being of their employees and the community.
McCartney said that any business that can has moved to working from home, and that she is grateful for the technology that has allowed a number of businesses to remain operational from remote locations.
“A lot of businesses are thinking outside of the box to find solutions.” McCartney said. “This is really great because things that come from disasters tend to stay in place.”
The chamber itself has taken this time to set up their new office, located at 1108 N Kilgore St., McCartney said. She explained that with just two office employees the chamber will remain open no matter what, and is available to assist anyone in the community with questions or concerns.
She said that the group has worked to start the Kilgore Area Takeout Facebook group to promote local restaurants, which currently has about 2 million followers. The page can be found at www.facebook.com/groups/KilgoreAreaTakeOut/.
“Now every single day we have restaurants posting whether they are doing drive up or carry out, what they have on the menu, it really is something amazing,” McCartney said.
The Chamber has also created a centralized COVID-19 information section for businesses on their website at www.kilgorechamber.com.
McCartney also encouraged any non essential businesses that have had to close down due to the outbreak to look into FDA loans and stimulus packets that are being updated daily to assist small businesses.
“We feel for our members and our local businesses in the area,” McCartney said. “We are definitely all in this together.”
She said that the chamber will continue to put information about these to assist small businesses on their website daily, and is available to assist at any time.
The chamber can be reached through phone at (903)984-5002 and through email at firstname.lastname@example.org .