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AUBURN, Ala. (WRBL) – The City of Auburn and its legal team is drafting a resolution to address limiting the spread of COVID-19 as some downtown patrons, and some businesses are not following mask and social distancing mandates. The news comes as two downtown Auburn bars, Southeastern and 1716, announced on social media Wednesday they are voluntarily closing out of an abundance of caution for the time being.
The resolution will be presented to the Auburn City Council during a specially called meeting, Thursday, Aug. 27, to discuss additional measures that may be taken to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The meeting will begin at 2 p.m. via the Zoom teleconferencing app. A link is available online for those interested in registering to attend the meeting.
As of Monday – 202 Auburn University students tested positive for COVID-19 in the space of one week. In a historical request, Mayor Ron Anders says AU leadership asked the city to control large crowds gathering downtown without masks and social distancing, thought to be spreading the virus.
News 3 asked Mayor Anders if the resolution would call for the closure of downtown bars.
“I would say we are evaluating all of our options that make Auburn a safe place for all of our students, all of our citizens, that’s my charge,” said Anders.
Last week, the city asked downtown businesses to enforce state safety mandates, and then police and city leaders observed downtown crowds over the weekend.
“We saw a lot we didn’t want to see, and so now that puts us back at the table to determine what is the right path to take here in Auburn. We also saw businesses doing exactly what we asked of them to do, and we have considered all of that,” said Anders.
Anders says the resolution’s goal is first to protect citizens health. Second, the resolution is an effort to keep Auburn University from going entirely virtual and dealing a financial blow to Auburn’s overall economic health.
“If it goes 100-percent virtual and people go back home or go somewhere else, then that compromises the vitality of our community. So certainly, that is a consideration for what we are doing. But, nothing ever is more important than the safety of our citizens,” said Anders.
We will know the full wording of the resolution during the city council meeting Thursday. Mayor Anders says personal responsibility is the key to Auburn navigating the virus. Mayor Anders is begging students and citizens to wear masks and social distance on their own.