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City begins reopening local facilities

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Round up the teens and toddlers, grab a swimsuit or trunks, and get ready for summer. On Tuesday, May 26, the day after Memorial Day, the Seminole Splash Pad and the pool at the M.S. Doss Youth Center will open for muchanticipated fun and sun at 50 percent capacity.

Many of Seminole’s favorite summer spots are now open. According to City Administrator Tommy Phillips, parks in Seminole opened on May 18, per the governor’s phase two of Open Up Texas. According to Judge Tom Keyes, Gaines County Park is also open.

“People should observe appropriate social distancing and hygiene measures, but the park is open. The parking area is barricaded off, but that is due to some asphalt problems that will hopefully be fixed in the next week. Commissioner Belt had been waiting on the weather to get consistently hot so he could repave the parking lot and keep people from getting asphalt all over their cars when they drove through,” Judge Keys explained.

Both pools mentioned above open their gates on May 26 while the pool at the high school is not scheduled to allow swimmers at that time. It could, however, reopen by July. A spokesman for SHS said that “things are still up in the air concerning the pool.”

Phillips added that the Seminole City Hall has been open for several weeks. The Gaines County Courthouse, however, has not been accessible, but doors will be unlocked Tuesday.

Judge Keyes explained, “Based on a security audit we had performed a couple of years ago, there will be only one entrance into the building for the foreseeable future, this has nothing to do with the coronavirus. We knew we had to implement this security measure at some point, once we implemented it for COVID-19 screening, it just made sense to keep it in place. We continue to work on implementing the recommendations from the security audit as we can within our budgetary restrictions.”

In terms of access to offices within the courthouse, Judge Keys said that he is recommending people call the department they need to do business with to make appointments. He added that the purpose is to reduce waiting times and the number of folks meandering around the hallways. It is up to each elected official, however, as to whether they will take walk-ins.

The Judge noted that the County Clerk and the District Clerk are both awaiting the installation of safety equipment in the next week or so, and would prefer no walk-ins until those screens are in place. The latest action plan was posted on the county webpage on Friday.

In other openings, Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) would begin a phased opening of driver’s license offices starting Tuesday, with limited service offerings. As part of this opening plan, DPS will launch a statewide driver’s license (DL) appointment system that allows customers to book appointments up to six months in advance. The limited services being offered will be by appointment only.