Alba: Stay home and phone into town meetings

Alba: Stay home and phone into town meetings

SMITHFIELD – Safety precautions such as virtual Town Council meetings, staying at home when sick, and washing hands are keeping the people of Smithfield safe, said Town Council President Suzy Alba, and that’s the town’s most significant concern during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alba said the town will hold weekly town hall meetings where residents can call into the conversation to hear updates on the virus and ask town officials questions.

Meetings will be held each Thursday at 7 p.m. People can join the meeting on their devices at www.gotomeet.me/RandyRossi/coronavirus-forum-2 or by phone at 1-866-899-4679 using the access code 566-695-085.

“These phone conferences are another alternative for our community to stay informed,” Alba said.

Alba’s message to people during the coronavirus outbreak is to stay home and listen to what health officials are recommending. So far, she said, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Smithfield, and she hopes that will stay unchanged.

According to Alba, about 60 people attended last week’s discussion, with four or five people asking thoughtful questions. She said the state loosened restrictions on the Open Meetings Act to allow for televised, online meetings or telephone meetings.

“We’re really happy the state relaxed Open Meetings Act requirements, so we are able to conduct our council business,” Alba said.

Discussion includes updates from Smithfield Emergency Management Agency Director Todd Manni, who is a member of the town’s Emergency Response Team, as well as Alba.

Alba said town officials are in constant contact with state and federal officials and are sharing resources and innovations with each other daily. She praised the behind-the-scenes work being done to keep the town running and the incredible outpouring of donations and volunteers to ensure people’s needs are met.

She said residents are also offering extra help and support.

“We have a series of volunteers delivering meals on a daily basis to our seniors who are homebound,” she said.

The town is looking for volunteers to help deliver meals to seniors. If interested, call the Smithfield Senior Center at 401-949-4590.

Alba added that local businesses such as Sienna and Country Kitchen are donating meals to seniors as well.

“The residents and the businesses are all stepping up and willing to help,” she said.

The town is doing its part in helping people catch up with bills during school and business closures, said Alba, adding that the town will be extending tax payment deadlines to April.