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Back to Zoom… The rise in COVID drives city council back to Zoom meeting in August

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR STAFF
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com
The Elizabethton City Council has managed to have the last couple of council meetings in the meeting room at Elizabethton City Hall.
However, that will change with the regularly scheduled August meeting slated for this coming Thursday, Aug. 13, which will be conducted via Zoom.
Elizabethton City Manager Daniel Estes stated the reasoning for the move back to Zoom comes as a result of COVID-19 which on Wednesday had 19 new cases reported in Carter County,
“We decided due to the continuing high level of COVID cases in Carter County that it would be best to fall back to online meetings,” Estes said on Wednesday evening. 
“The meeting will be at the same 6 p.m. time. Those who wish to attend the Zoom online meeting can do so at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89670378681 or by calling 646-558-8656 and entering the meeting ID 896 7037 8681.”
While Carter County Mayor Rusty Barnett has issued an extension to the Face Mask Mandate, City Government has been relatively quiet as of late.
Estes was asked with the increase in cases in the county if there were any plans to change the way services are conducted by the City of Elizabethton.
“There are no planned changes to city programs, functions, or operations at this time,” Estes added. “If circumstances require a change, we will pass that information along so the public will be aware.”
The city manager was also asked about how city employees have been impacted and if any employees currently have tested positive for the COVID-19.
“The city has four active COVID cases,” Estes commented. “In total since the pandemic began, we have had eight staff members test positive for COVID-19.”
One piece of business that will be addressed by the Council during the August meeting is a public hearing on prohibiting camping on public property.
This comes as a result of an increase of homeless people being on public property and will allow the Elizabethton Police Department the ability to ask those found to be camping on public property to move and assist in directing those to agencies that can help.