Copperas Cove mayor signs disaster declaration, city entities prepare to launch “Cove Cares” initiative to feed senior citizens
By LYNETTE SOWELL
On Friday afternoon, Mayor Bradi Diaz signed a disaster declaration for the City of Copperas Cove, prior to the executive order going into effect that was issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday.
Diaz read the declaration aloud prior to signing it at the city council chambers.
“City staff and I continue to monitor and discuss current information related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. We have been involved in many conference calls this week at the Federal, State, and local levels, and are pleased to report there are still no confirmed coronavirus cases in Copperas Cove.,” Diaz stated. “I issued a Disaster Declaration for our City today, which is consistent with the Executive Order issued by Texas Governor Greg Abbott on March 19th.”
The declaration reaffirmed that residents should avoid social gatherings of more than 10 people, that in accordance with guidelines from the President of the United States and the CDC, that people shall avoid eating or drinking at bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms, or massage parlors. Again, the use of drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for dining is allowed and encouraged.
Diaz, a lifelong resident and business owner in Copperas Cove, talked about the impact of the “social distancing” that is now being strongly encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control, along with the Texas Department of Health Services and other agencies to “flatten the curve” of the spread of COVID-19.
“I feel for our small businesses, but I think it’s imperative that we follow the guidelines and that we do what we can to stop this virus, and because the health and safety of our citizens is imperative. If we do this, then we can hopefully do our part to stop the spread,” Diaz said.
She also expressed her concern for citizens’ wellbeing.
“We want people to at some point unplug, be with their families, and not just pay attention to this all the time,” Diaz said. “We want them to heed the warnings of what we’re asking them to do...spend some time with family, get outside, do all the things that are going to make them feel healthy, physically and emotionally.”
City Manager Ryan Haverlah confirmed that the city’s parks will remain open, and stated that parks personnel are working to clean and disinfect the playground equipment. Visiting the parks is encouraged, but citizens should still avoid groups of more than 10 people.
Diaz also talked about an initiative that will start next week in Copperas Cove, the launch of “Cove Cares.”
Cove Cares will provide a weekday lunch for all senior citizens in the city, delivered to their residence.
The present Meals on Wheels program in Copperas Cove requires senior citizens to qualify under Title III Guidelines to receive meals prepared and distributed via the Hill Country Community Action Association.
“(Cove Cares) will roll out, hopefully, Monday,” Diaz said. “We are partnering with CCISD, the EDC, and the Chamber, and we are going to feed our elderly population who are being asked to stay at home because they are most vulnerable. We are going to prepare meals for them and deliver the meals to them.”
As far as who will be able to receive meals, Diaz said they are working to identify those citizens.
“We’re using all of our lists that those populations might be a part of, we’re talking to the ministerial alliance, we’re talking to our churches, R-U-OK, and we’re compiling a list of those individuals who are being asked to stay home.”
In talking with CCISD superintendent Joe Burns, Diaz said that right now the district’s cafeterias are not operational and that the district has food that will expire due to campuses being closed for two more weeks.
“Their staff Is going to prepare those wonderful meals – he’s shown us the menu for the week – and it’s amazing. Then, they’re using their transportation to deliver those meals,” Diaz said.
Mayor Diaz said that the initiative has developed within a matter of days.
“Watch for the flyer to be distributed with full information,” Diaz said. Along with the lunch, seniors will receive frozen meal to help get them through the weekend.
“We are planning on having initial information by the end of the day Friday. By Monday, we’ll have much more information available,” Haverlah added.
Along with the meals delivered to seniors, Copperas Cove Leader-Press publisher David Morris is donating a free copy of the newspaper to all senior citizens who receive the meals starting next week with the Cove Cares program.
For more information on Cove Cares, watch for an update and see Tuesday’s Copperas Cove Leader-Press.