Police Arrest Hiller Park Party Organizer, more Biloxi News

From: City of Biloxi   4/6/2020   GCN

Night 1 of the curfew on Thursday night -- when travel is supposed to be limited -- prompted a number of traffic stops and the dispersing of a crowd at Hiller Park gathered for a party, which was later moved to a residence where Biloxi Police arrested an organizer.

Biloxi Police Chief John Miller, appearing on the city's Be Prepared video message today, said plans are in the works to limit the hours of Hiller Park and police are also going to be monitoring the beachfront boardwalks, particularly in West Biloxi this weekend, when spring break had been previously promoted on social media sites.

Gov. Tate Reeves has ordered beaches closed until further notice beginning at 5 this afternoon.

 Beachfront boardwalks, walking trails and the seawall remain open for individuals, primarily walkers or runners.

Parking bays are closed between Treasure Bay and DeBuys Road, Miller said, and police would work to disperse any crowds in any areas of the city.

Facebook: See today's video update
YouTube: See today's video update
City Desk: The inside story from John Miller
See the city's coronavirus advisories

City to reduce staffing levels Monday

The City of Biloxi on Monday is shifting to its emergency staffing plan, with about half of the city's 650 employees sheltering at home on paid administrative leave until recalled to work.

However, staffing of first responders in the Biloxi Police and Fire departments and dispatchers in the city's Communications Center will remain at normal levels. The move to the emergency staffing is an attempt to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

No city department is closing, although recreational centers are closed, and non-emergency city buildings are closed to routine walk-in traffic.

The public has been encouraged to conduct all business -- city or otherwise -- by phone, email or online.

However, the city's Water Department billing office on Main Street remains open for drive-through payments.

 City utility crews will continue daily monitoring of water wells and wastewater lift stations, and Public Works emergency crews will be on stand-by and will be recalled if emergency repairs are needed.

City parks are closed except for walking trails, and routine grass mowing and other such tasks will not be performed during the shelter-at-home period. The city's four harbors remain open with harbormasters on duty for security, and public boat launches remain open.

The city is following its practices that have become routine for serious hurricane threats.

Department directors have designated employees as either "essential on duty" or "non-essential and shelter at home" status. Those ordered to shelter at home will be on administrative leave with pay and should abide by the governor's shelter at home rules.

During the emergency work period, some employees may be called back to duty. Employees who are not on duty should remain in contact with their supervisors and should report any changes in their health status.

Employees should also check daily with the city's information hotline (228-435-6300) for any updates on staff operational status. Directors also are being advised to ensure that information is passed to all employees.
Biloxi, others push back on spillway operation

The Bonnet Carre spillway re-opened again today, reminding residents and fishing industry of the devastating environmental damage from recent back-to-back openings, and the City of Biloxi was in court this week to push back on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' assertions that it has no obligation to seek alternatives. To read the details of measures filed by Biloxi and others, click here.

News & notes: Council agenda, podcast, meetings

Council: The Biloxi City Council will hold its next scheduled meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The meeting will be streamed live on the city's website and later will be posted on the city's YouTube channel and aired on BTV. To see the agenda, click here. To visit the City of Biloxi YouTube page, click here.

City Desk: This week's edition of the City Desk podcast, recording today at Biloxi City Hall, focuses on the city's response to the coronavirus. To listen to the program, click here.

Meetings: Access to all City of Biloxi public meetings has been restricted at this time. For more information about public meetings and to visit the web page, click here.

Released by Vincent Creel and Cecilia Dobbs Walton