The city of Athens announced updates to its COVID-19 protocols Wednesday, including a partial reopening of recreation facilities and an extension on utility disconnects.
Starting June 1, pavilion rental, playground equipment and fitness classes will again be open to the public, according to a release from the city. Wavaho Field will be open for practice reservations, and the current recreation center will be reopened for public use of restrooms or attending fitness classes.
However, other activities remain canceled or postponed until a later date. Travel baseball and softball tournaments are set to resume in late August, with youth sports camps set for reevaluation July 1. Karate classes will resume after the new rec center opens. Meanwhile, adult softball, free play basketball and youth volleyball are canceled for the summer.
Those looking to enjoy the city pool this summer will also have to wait. Open swim will be reevaluated July 1, and home swim meets are canceled for the summer. Pool parties and swim team practices are on hold until enough lifeguards have been hired.
Athens Park and Rec Director Bret Bradford said the department will continue to evaluate programs and is still working to fill 40 temporary positions following layoffs due to the coronavirus pandemic. Bradford asked the public to follow social distancing and sanitation guidelines while using any of the rec facilities.
See the sports section of The News Courier's weekend edition for additional coverage of fall registration deadlines.
Athens Utilities will again extend suspension of service disconnects for failure to pay one's bill. Customer accounts manager Bill Vaughn said the new date will be June 22, but customers are responsible for the full amount accrued.
Payments are accepted 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the drive-thru at 508 S. Jefferson St., Athens; by mailing the bill stub with payment to City of Athens Utilities, P.O. Box 830200, Birmingham, AL 35283; by placing the bill stub with payment in the night box at 508 S. Jefferson St., Athens; over the phone by calling 1-855-760-0921; online at athens-utilities.com; and by bank draft.
Payments made online or by phone are processed by companies that charge additional fees. Forms for payment by bank draft are available by calling 256-233-8750, visiting athens-utilities.com or emailing email@example.com.
Vaughn urged customers to pay what they can to keep their bill low.
The city will continue to live stream Athens City Council and Athens Planning Commission meetings on the city's YouTube channel, CityofAthensAla. A phone number for citizen input will be provided during meetings.
All in-person municipal court proceedings remain suspended through June 30 as ordered by the Alabama Supreme Court, Municipal Court Judge Don Mansell said. The city said this also applies to the defensive driving course.
Proceedings are tentatively set to resume July 7. Anyone who has previously been sentenced and ordered to make monthly payments toward court costs, fines or other fees will be given a 60-day grace period and will not be penalized for inability to make payments for March or April.
Call 256-233-8733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on payment arrangements.
Athens Mayor Ronnie Marks said the city continues to monitor local and statewide case numbers as they implement ways to provide services in the safest manner possible. This includes installing glass barriers at counters in city department buildings and keeping them closed to the public until June 8 unless otherwise specified.
Visit athensal.us for a full list of contact information for each department.