After COVID-19, government entities should continue broadcasting meetings
In the era of COVID-19, some of our government agencies are getting creative when it comes to members maintaining social distancing while still meeting.
One of the more creative approaches I have seen was the Whitley County Water District earlier this month, when the three board members met in the parking lot so that they could maintain social distancing of at least six feet.
Most agencies though are going high tech in order to keep meeting so they can perform their public duties. Here are a few examples.
The Corbin City Commission and the Whitley County Fiscal Court met last week utilizing Facebook Live streams to pipe the meetings to their constituents because both Corbin City Hall and the Whitley County Courthouse are currently closed to the public.
The Whitley County Board of Health held its most recent meeting via Zoom, an online video conferencing platform. The Whitley County Board of Education also met via Zoom for its monthly meeting, and broadcast the meeting on its website via YouTube so that the public could see what was happening.
For the last two months, the Whitley County Library Board met utilizing video conferencing software called Webex.
As the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention and our local government officials have been forced to get creative in recent weeks.
This creativity could bring about one lasting benefit for the public though, if many of these same government officials will keep broadcasting government meetings live online for the public to see after COVID-19 ends.
To its credit the Whitley County Fiscal Court has been videoing its meetings in recent years, and later putting video from those meetings up on its website. The same can’t be said for other government entities.
The public’s best interests are served when government entities are as transparent as possible. To their credit, we have a really good group of government officials right now in Whitley County and our cities, who I think largely have the public’s best interest at heart.
History has shown that this isn’t always the case. Corruption does happen, but it is much easier to prevent and ferret out when the public can see for themselves what government agencies are doing, and how they are doing it.
While it may seem like everything is shutdown right now, several of our local businesses are still laboring to serve the public as best they can with COVID-19 restrictions in place.
Last week we ran a list in the paper of mainly our local retail businesses, which are still open and operating in some way during the COVID-19 pandemic. The list also appears on our website, www.thenewsjournal.net, and on our Facebook page.
We created the list largely from an e-mail blast that the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce sent out for us to chamber members and from a Facebook post on the News Journal’s page seeking out these businesses.
For the record it isn’t a complete list. We know it isn’t a complete list, but we did the best we could. If you have a retail business that isn’t on here, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I will try and add it to the list, which has already been updated a couple of times since last week.
Also, we are periodically running a list of local restaurants that are open, and how they are operating, i.e., drive-thru, carryout, curbside service. We have also assembled a list of grocery stores and discount stores with hours when only seniors and vulnerable adults can shop so that their potential exposure to the virus is limited.
We ran the senior shopping list in the newspaper for a second time two weeks ago, and reposted links to that list and the restaurant list on our Facebook page recently. Please share those links, and try to patronize these businesses during these difficult financial times. They need your help, and every little bit helps.