Council supports Class of 2020 recognitions
No action taken on business, church requests
April 23, 2020
WORLAND — In a meeting dominated by requests resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and state health orders, the Worland City Council approved requests in support of the Class of 2020 seniors but took no action on requests from churches and nail and hair salons.
The council, in their regular meeting via Zoom web conferencing, approved a request from Gail Carver to allow 96 banners, featuring photos of the 96 Worland High School seniors set to graduate next month, on downtown light poles with two banners on each pole.
Carver said the group wanting to display the banners has raised $5,520 for the banners and brackets needed to hang them on the poles. She said the banners will be displayed during the month of May from Railway Avenue to just past 10th Street.
Public Works Superintendent Brian Burky was able to get an encroachment waiver approved by the Wyoming Department of Transportation quickly.
The council supported a request from Kara Anderson about a senior class parade on May 17, if an actual graduation ceremony cannot be held due to COVID-19 restrictions. While the council had questions, including how they would ensure people watching the senior parade would maintain proper social distancing guidelines, members expressed support for the idea. They asked Anderson to bring back a formal plan at the May 5 meeting, with Mandy Horath noting the school should know by then if graduation could be held or not in the traditional manner and what changes to the state health orders Governor Mark Gordon might make.
The council took no action on a request from Pastor Paul Thomas seeking altered parking on the 1100 block of Obie Sue for the Sovereign Grace Bible Church. The church did receive permission for a special drive-in Easter service. Services are broadcast on a 100-watt radio frequency that reaches about 10 miles beyond the city limits. Thomas said several members are from Thermopolis so they cannot pick up the frequency from their home.
He said people parked parallel on the street for last week’s services since he had not sought permission from the city for parking change. He was requesting the change until the state health orders are lifted.
Mayor Jim Gill expressed concern about the appearance of supporting one church over another as not all churches have radio broadcasting abilities.
Worland Police Chief Gabe Elliott said another church, CrossPoint Baptist held a drive-in service at Reese & Ray’s parking lot on Easter and the police did receive at least one noise complaint. The church used a loud speaker system. Per their Facebook page they have moved their drive-in services to the Worley Welding lot on U.S. Highway 16.
Elliott asked Thomas why people could not just park normally on the streets as they did last week. Thomas said they could, but it is easier for them to face the speaker and the music if they are able to park facing the building. He said no traffic was impeded to the one home on the block during Easter services and only one car had to turn around and go around Sanders Park.
The council listened to a request from Chelsea Hill, owner of the Nail Jive in Worland, but directed her to take her request to the county health officer, noting that the city had no authority to grant her request.
Hill said the request comes in case the governor extends his order closing all personal service businesses or if their opening is delayed with a soft opening.
“There are 17 salons in Worland, businesses in Worland, that if we can’t get back to work under some circumstance, are in jeopardy of going out of business,” Hill said.
There is no salon with over four technicians so keeping social distancing is possible, she said.
The governor’s state health order does allow for exceptions to be made by the county health officer.
Johnson County’s health officer on Monday granted exceptions for three businesses to open — a gym, a nail salon and a hair salon, according to the Buffalo Bulletin.
In her proposal, Hill stated, that they would never have more than 10 people in the salon at one time. Clients would not be allowed to bring extra people into the salon. Clients would be required to wash their hands immediately upon entering the building. There would be time to between appointments to allow for additional sanitizing and disinfecting.
Hill said when she called the city it was recommended to her by Clerk/Treasurer Tracy Glanz to bring the request to the council. Hill said her understanding was that her letter would be submitted to the county health officer and the governor’s office.
Glanz said she would forward it on to health officer Dr. Ed Zimmerman.
Council member Mandy Horath said she is in favor of getting businesses open but they have to make sure it is the right thing for the health of the citizens.
Hill said she was not just speaking for Nail Jive but for the other salons as well.
Hill said, “We’re just trying to bring it into people’s eyes so they can be aware and hopefully, have the support of the city to go to the county health officer.”