Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson: ‘We can’t let the health crisis become an economic crisis’
During a Monday afternoon briefing, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson described the ways in which his city was looking to keep business moving amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“City government, to the degree that we can, we’re going to remain as fully active in providing all the services that we have been providing,” Stimpson noted. “The wheels of government have to continue.”
Recognizing the immense challenges facing the state’s businesses, he outlined ways his city is seeking to help relieve some of that stress.
“To help business owners in the city, we are going to waive late payment fees for the months of February, March and April on sales and lodging taxes,” Stimpson stated.
City staff is also directing people trying to do business within the city to online tools, particularly with building and permitting issues.
Easing the burden on businesses was a predominant takeaway for Stimpson during a Sunday call with mayors from the ten largest cities in Alabama.
“The mood was that we need to keep our cities open,” he recalled. “The reason is, we can’t let the health crisis become an economic crisis more than what it already is.”
Stimpson shared that shutting down completely was not the sentiment expressed in the call with other mayors.
He attributed it to “the negative impact that completely shutting everything down would have.”
As for dealing with coronavirus itself, Stimpson reiterated that his “first and foremost concern is the health of our citizens.”
Testing options for those exhibiting symptoms will improve, according to Stimpson.
“What you can count, though, is that you will see there will be more tests developed,” he said. “There have been regulations loosened, done away with. Every laboratory that has the ability to produce a test is now taking a look at it.”
He believes this will benefit the collaborative effort ongoing between governments and the medical community.
“You will see the private sector step up and do things that they were not doing prior to this,” Stimpson stated.
Tim Howe is an owner of Yellowhammer Multimedia