City Board makes adjustments to resolution; rules change slightly

Published 5:27 pm Friday, March 27, 2020

Batesville Police Chief Jimmy McCloud has released a statement city officials hope will further explain what changes to the resolution adopted by the Mayor and Board of Aldermen last Saturday, March 21, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Today’s action by the board gave some restaurants in the city more leeway to serve patrons and took a step to limit the number of people in the larger grocery stores and retail businesses. The new rules take effect at midnight Friday.


The content of the Police Department’s release is as follows:


On the topic of restaurants and dining, it is still mandated that there Shall be no dining on the property of the restaurant inside or out! It is highly encouraged that restaurants provide a curb side option.


Restaurants that have a drive-through, this is what Shall be used exclusively!  Restaurants that do not have a drive-through, may allow up to three (3) customers inside at a time to place an order, pay for order, and/or pick up their order. These customers are limited to five (5) minutes to conduct their business and Shall not wait inside the business.


On the topic of retail, the following regulations Shall apply. Retail businesses less than 4,000 square feet Shall not have more than ten (10) customers in the business at a time. Retail businesses over 4,000 square feet Shall not exceed 50 percent of their current fire code occupancy number. 


These regulations will take effect at midnight on March 27, 2020, and remain in effect until the Batesville Mayor and Board make any changes.


Violation of these regulations Shall be enforced by City Ordinance with up to $1,000 per day fine and up to 90 days in jail.


The City of Batesville is taking the COVID19 very seriously and monitoring this daily. We ask that everyone realize that all of these regulations are for the safety of our citizens.

Thank you for your cooperation,

Mayor Jerry Autrey


Aldermen debated several scenarios before adopting the revisions to the resolution. Using the following examples of stores and restaurants that most Batesville citizens are familiar with, these are the current facts about the reach of the board’s efforts:


  1. No more than 250 people, excluding employees, may be inside Piggly Wiggly at one time based on the store’s fire occupancy limit of 500, reduced by half by the resolution. Other stores with more than 4,00 square feet will also be limited to half their occupancy load.


  1. Walgreens and other drugstores with drive-thru windows are urged to have customers use those as much as possible. Otherwise, small stores may have up to 10 customers inside at a time, and Walgreens may only have half of its fire occupancy limit inside.


  1. Up to 10 people may enter local convenience stores that sell prepared food, Jiffy stores for example, and order take out orders, without a time limit. Only three customers may enter Subway at a time, they may stay no longer than five minutes, and they, too, must take their order with them.


  1. Wendy’s, Mcdonalds, Popeyes, Captain D’s and the other restaurants that have a drive-thru service may not allow any customers to come into their dining area. They must serve at the drive-thru window only. 
  1. El Mariachi, Cafe Ole, Bread & Butter Bistro, and restaurants without a drive-thru window may serve customers take out meals from the register inside the building, but no more than three may be in the restaurant at a time, they may not sit down, and may only stay five minutes. Before the adjustments today, those restaurants could only serve customers outside, including the exchange of payment.


  1. Liquor stores, barber shops, insurance agencies, dress shops, boot stores, and almost every other regular business may operate as normal, but may not have any more than 10 customers, not to include employees, in the establishment at any one time. There is no time limit that must be observed for patrons of those businesses.


The aldermen have also consistently reminded business owners, as well as citizens, that following the recommended guidelines put out by state and national authorities is a best practice for avoiding contracting the coronavirus.