Home News City Council meets to discuss the future of the pandemic in Rexburg

City Council meets to discuss the future of the pandemic in Rexburg

On Oct. 7, Rexburg’s city council met under the direction of Mayor Jerry Merrill. The council met in person, with chairs spread 6 feet apart.

The first part of the meeting included reports of community development, financial and employee benefits and public works.

Merrill said he has been thinking about how to combat the COVID-19 issue. He reported that as he was watching football, the analogy of teamwork came to his mind.

With a football theme, he presented a “two-minute drill” for the city of Rexburg. He clarified it will last much longer than two minutes to stop the spread and keep everyone safe.

This two minute drill will include 10 steps:

1. Focus on businesses by asking them to cooperate with mandates and safety precautions. “Masks mandated” signs will be provided to every business.

2. Post more banners at the parks with health guidelines. Gathering permits for groups of 25 or more are required, but they will be very particular about permitting those for now, to discourage large group gatherings.

3. Empower The Rexburg Police Department to enforce guidelines.

4. Improve the digital sign reporting COVID-19 cases at the end of main street.

5. Make arrangements to purchase 17,000 masks. Those masks will be purchased with the COVID-19 relief fund.

6. Message and communicate with community partners including hospitals, the school district, BYU-Idaho and the police district to help them abide by COVID-19 guidelines

7. Provide more information on Rexburg’s current COVID-19 state to the public.

8. Making a banner to remind people to wear a mask and social distance.

9. Managing city recreational activities to limit large crowds.

10. Develop a positive reinforcement plan for those who cooperate with these efforts.

A council member said that he thinks a mask ordinance would be more effective than the 10 steps, but Merrill said that wasn’t working.

“We actually do have a mandatory mask ordinance right now,” Merrill said. “The trouble is trying to figure out to how to enforce it”

Merrill said he doesn’t know what else to do.

“At some point we’ve got to rely on people to take personal responsibility and do things because it is the right thing to do,” Merrill said

Citizens relayed concerns about others wanting to get COVID-19 to qualify for a high compensation for their valuable plasma donation.

Tyler Stewart, the manager of Grifols on Main Street reported the importance of those who have COVID-19 being able to donate plasma. Due to the value of COVID-19 plasma, the compensation price to pay for recipients has been set high. Stewart said that, if necessary, the compensation price could be set lower if that would stop encouraging people to get COVID-19 in hopes of being able to donate plasma.

It was brought to the councils’ attention that there is a $50 difference in compensation for those who have COVID-19 antibodies in their blood.

Parties thrown in spite against COVID-19 were also under discussion. A council member asked if police department involvement might be necessary to eliminate the occurrence of the parties.

No conclusion was drawn nor a decision made in regards to what to do about the COVID-19 parties.

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