With the coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading throughout the world, everyday activities here in St. Martin Parish are being drastically affected as local, state and national officials implement emergency measures to try and check the spreading disease.
As of noon Tuesday there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the parish but there have been cases and several deaths across Louisiana.
But all schools have been closed, public religious services suspended and officials have banned gatherings of 50 or more people.
Financial markets are in turmoil as the travel, vacation, restaurant, entertainment and sports industries have been shut down or severely trimmed back.
Here in Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a public health emergency and ordered schools closed, at least through April 13 and all spring sports suspended.
Also affected are restaurants, bars and casinos, being limited to take out orders.
Here is a listing of currently announced virus-related closures or postponements:
•Public and parochial schools. Supt. Allen Blanchard Jr. says at present teachers should remain home while 12-month employees are still working. Student meals will be offered to any children 18 or younger between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at SM Primary and ELC, Parks Primary, BB Elementary and BB Jr. High, Teche Elementary and Cecilia Jr. High, Catahoula Elementary and Stephensville Elementary. Parents and employees should access the district website (www.saintmartinschools.org) for information during the shutdown. Teachers have been asked to complete grades and report cards to be mailed out later this week.
The state has waived the minimum number of minutes required so at this time it appears schools will not have to make up any days.
•Parish Government – Central office open but all community/civic centers and public libraries closed.
•16th Judicial District Court – All jury trials, both civil and criminal, grand jury proceedings, Hearing Officer conferences and Support Enforcement Services matters are continued.
Courthouses will remain open during regular hours.
•St. Martin Sheriff’s Office – Open for business.
•Assessor’s office and Clerk of Court remain open.
•Registrar of Voters office open, but April 4 Henderson municipal election postponed to June 20 with runoff, if necessary on July 25.
•County Agent Office in Breaux Bridge will continue to operate, but will not be open to the public. 4-H Achievement Day postponed.
•St. Martinville – All public buildings are closed to the public; March Mayor’s Court canceled. City Hall business transactions should be conducted at the drive-thru window on Catfish Alley.
•Breaux Bridge – City Hall open but residents encouraged to use drive-thru window, pay online or mail utility payments. Park athletic fields and pavilions closed to public.
•Parks – Only the City Hall drive-thru window will be open to the public.
•Catholic Churches – The Diocese of Lafayette has suspended all Masses, including Holy Week and Easter, until April 13.
Funerals (with immediate family only) will take place with graveside services only; weddings will be celebrated without Mass and with immediate family only. Confirmation ceremonies are postponed.
•Acadian Memorial Festival on March 21 postponed, with tentative plans to hold it in conjunction with the Grand Reveil Acadien festivities in October.
•Council on Aging – Meal services at Sydnie Mae Activity Center in Breaux Bridge and Magnolia Park in St. Martinville suspended. Meals on Wheels will continue to be delivered. Transportation will only be available for medical and dialysis appointments. The COA office will close a 1 p.m. daily but the Activity Center will not be available. Contact Executive Director Shanese Lewis at 337-332-3063 for more information.
•March 24 meeting on care of Evangeline Oak postponed.
•All public civic meetings suspended.