Council Emergency Meeting to consider July 4th event
During its emergency July 01, 2020 meeting, the Forney City Council met to consider events having more than 100 people.
- Consider upcoming City events and other outdoor gatherings in excess of 100 people.
Mr. David Watts spoke and suggested the city continue with the event, there is no crisis event worthy of changing the event. He said hospital executives in Houston said there are no capacity issues with hospitals. He said there is tremendous capacity in the Dallas area - 3,000 open beds; 442 open ICU beds. He said there is no crisis, no undo danger, people need this celebration.
Mr. Myers said he has thought about this a lot, and asked council to not overthink this. Park has 170 acres, enough for people to socially distance. If closed the park but still did fireworks, people in parking lots would be less distanced. People going to this event are out at other events, such as work and entertainment. Lowe's has volunteered to give away some masks. Forney is the perfect place to get out and celebrate, should continue as planned.
Mr. Moon said he's nervous, wondered if were any other options to everyone gathering for this event. Cases are increasing - they are encouraging people to gather when large gatherings are discouraged. Doesn't the council have responsibility to guide? Mr. Myers said people will gather in parking lots to watch, and be less distanced. There's more room at the park, room to do recommended actions. Mr. Moon said have been telling people to do that (take precautions) for a while, and cases still increasing. He wants to be proactive. Mr. Myers said many variables with increasing cases, labeling has changed, testing has increased.
Ms. Powers said she's on the fence, but as a healthcare worker, errs on side of caution. Dallas does have capacity, but do we want to put people in those beds? Should prevent escalation. Some facilities are waiting for ICU beds. Numbers can be skewed, but seeing it (COVID) personally, it's bad. People need to understand this is the real deal, and make sound judgements about their family.
Mr. Cooper said there's a ton of parking lots, and the 170 acres. Even Judge Richards said can gather if stay 6 ft apart. People need to decide, he's in favor of continuing.
Mr. Johnson said council will be damned for either decision. Cases are increasing because young people threw caution to the wind and violated protocol, and issues in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. His spouse has medical issues, they will not be going, but doesn't want to prevent other people from going. People must use common sense - social distance or wear a mask, which he does anytime he goes out. He would rather have the event, other cities have decided to only do fireworks.
Mr. Thomas is in favor of the event.
Mayor Penn thinks fireworks is a safe thing to do, people should social distance. She's not big on masks, but wears them when required. She would like to have the fireworks but not the rest of the event, so still celebrating. Opinions and numbers are all over the place. She also in favor of erring on side of caution. There are plenty of parking lots around. She's in favor of modified event - just the fireworks.
Mr. Myers moved to go forward as is, Ms. Powers seconded.
Approved 5-2 (Mr. Moon, Mayor Penn nay)
- Adjourned at 1727.
Wednesday, 2020, July 1