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As Alabama and other states try to wake from the COVID-19 pandemic, Athens has updated its rules governing court, recreation and utilities disconnects.

Mayor Ronnie Marks said Thursday the city continues to make improvements to facilities to try to limit exposure risks for staff and citizens, including installing glass barriers at counters.

To complete this work, the following facilities will remain closed to the public until June 1, unless otherwise specified. To assist residents, a list of departmental contacts will be listed on department doors and online at www.athensal.us. Here is a list of updated COVID-19 protocols for the city:

Council, Planning Commission

The city will continue to livestream Athens City Council and Athens Planning Commission meetings on the city’s YouTube channel at CityofAthensAla. A telephone number for citizen input will be provided during these meetings. Citizens who attend the meetings in person must sit in designated seats that are spaced 6 feet apart.

The following people are banned from attending in person:

• Those who have been, within the last 14 days, in any area identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as subject to a Level 3 Travel Health Notice or as a place of “widespread sustained spread and restrictions on travel to the United States." Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html for updates;

• Those who live or have had close contact with someone in one of the areas listed above within the last 14 days;

• Those who have been asked to self-quarantine by any doctor, hospital or health agency;

• Those who have been diagnosed with or have had contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or influenza; or

• Those who have a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, cough, trouble breathing or are obviously unwell and have not been free of the conditions for 48 hours.

City court

Municipal Court Judge Don Mansell said the suspension of all in-person court proceedings, as ordered by the Alabama Supreme Court, is extended through June 30. This also applies to the city’s defensive driving course. The court has set a tentative date to resume proceedings on July 7.

Anyone who has been sentenced and ordered to make monthly payments toward their fines, costs or other court-related fees, will be given a 60-day grace period to make the payments. This will encompass payments for March and April. No one should be penalized if they are unable to make payments for these months. The clerks will accept payments of any amount for those able to make a payment. This applies to previously sentenced defendants. If you cannot pay a citation, contact Athens Municipal Court by sending an email to court@athensal.us or by faxing a request to 256-233-6889.

Those who need to contact the Municipal Court staff or make a payment may email court@athensal.us or call 256-233-8733.

Athens Parks and Recreation

Tennis courts, trails and pavilion bathrooms are open throughout the city. Cemetery, Parks and Recreation Director Bert Bradford is asking users to adhere to social distancing and sanitation guidelines.

Other recreational facilities, including playgrounds and the Athens Recreation Center, remain closed as required by the State of Alabama Health Order.

Disconnects

Athens Utilities has extended its practice of not disconnecting utility services for nonpayment.

Customer Accounts Manager Bill Vaughn said the new extension date is June 1. Customers will be responsible for the full bill amount accrued until payment is made. Vaughn urges customers to pay what they can on their bills to help keep their balances low. Payment can be made in any of the following ways:

• Bringing it to the drive-thru lane at 508 S. Jefferson St., Athens. Lane is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays;

• Submitting it online at www.athens-utilities.com, which charges a fee for the service;

• Mailing bill stub with payment to City of Athens Utilities, P.O. Box 830200, Birmingham, AL 35283-0200 or place bill stub with payment in the night box at 508 S. Jefferson St.;

• Calling toll free 1-855-760-0921. The company that provides this service does charge a fee; or

• Applying for a bank draft (no fee) by obtaining a form online at www.athens-utilities.com, by calling 256-233-8750 or by emailing customeraccounts@athens-utilities.com and submitting.

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