City of Berea Mayor Bruce Fraley is urging citizens to continue being vigilant in the fight against COVID-19 infections. Fraley raised the issue during Tuesday’s Berea City Council meeting in reference to the passing of local resident Donna Reed, 68, who succumbed to the virus Monday after a weeks-long battle with the disease. Reed was the mother of Berea Citizen Publisher Keith Taylor.
While urging citizens to keep the Taylor-Reed family in their prayers and thoughts, Fraley noted Taylor often shared news of his mother’s condition on social media.“I think that what he shared with us and his experience and his openness about that really helped us all to better understand COVID-19 and the threat that it brings to our community and our families,” said the mayor.
With that in mind, Fraley said that while people may be tired of observing COVID-19 precautions, the recent deaths of people in the community, including Reed, drive home the need to remain cautious.
“For me, I’m tired of COVID-19,” Fraley said. “But just because we’re worn out and fatigued doesn’t mean we can stop. We have to continue to protect ourselves, our families, our friends, our co-workers and the people we love. So I would ask everyone to maintain six-foot social distancing, wear face covering in public places, and continue to observe frequent hand washing and avoid large groups.”
Councilman Jim Davis agreed, noting COVID-19 has affected him and his family. “The reason I missed the last meeting is because I had COVID-19 and my wife had COVID-19. So we have to work hard to protect ourselves and avoid it,” Davis said.
Councilman John Payne also expressed thanks to Taylor for sharing his story, which he said should serve as a warning that COVID is a real threat. “I’ve seen lot of people in the last few weeks that are kind of slacking off on wearing the masks. It’s important to follow the social distancing. We’ll all get through this, but we’re all going to have to work together,” Payne said.
On a related note, the city is encouraging citizens to exercise caution during Halloween celebrations. The council set the time for Halloween trick or treat activities for Saturday, October 31, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., subject to COVID-19 precautions issued by the Kentucky Public Health Cabinet, the Centers for Disease Control, and recommendations from the Madison County Health Department.
Berea City Administrator David Gregory said residents who want to welcome trick or treaters should leave their porch lights from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Halloween night, while those not wishing to participate should leave their lights off. While that rule is the same as in past years, there are new recommendations due to the pandemic.
“Door to door trick or treating is discouraged. Instead, residents who choose to participate should place individually wrapped candies on their porch or on a table in their front yard or driveway,” Gregory said. He added participants should observe social distancing, wear appropriate face covering (costumes do not count as masks) and observe proper hand washing and sanitizing. Traveling in large groups is also discouraged, Gregory said.
Safe Halloween activities sponsored by the City of Berea and the Berea Chamber of Commerce include a drive-thru balloon glow at Berea City Park, and a drive-thru version of Halloween in the Park beginning at 7 p.m. on Halloween night. Details of those events are forthcoming.
Councilman Steve Caudill urged citizens to observed precautions in order to help ensure local children can remain in school. “Wear a mask, don’t go door to door (for Halloween) and follow these rules because what should be a fun weekend we don’t want to linger and create issues with kids going back to school,” Caudill said.
In other business, the city unanimously approved the second reading of ordinance adopting a memorandum of understanding between the City of Berea and the Madison County Airport Board. Under the agreement, the city sponsors the board in securing loans for the construction of water and sewer lines to the Central Kentucky Regional Airport. The board is seeking loans to cover the $1.2 million project from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Kentucky Infrastructure Authority.
Also approved unanimously was a measure extending the construction deadline for the Walnut Meadow sewer pump station. Berea Municipal Utilities Director Kevin Howard explained the project was delayed due the COVID-19 pandemic and because of inclement weather.
The council also observed the opening of bids for main portion of the multi-use pavilion project on Chestnut Street, including: Walker Company Mt. Sterling, KY, $598.000, Devere Construction, Berea, KY – 643,000, and Omni Commercial LLC of Lexington, KY.
Mayor Fraley also presented proclamation declaring October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and a proclamation declaring Fire Prevention Week.
The next Berea City Council meeting will take place October 20.