Schools, restuarants, entertainment, closings and other coronavirus news

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Dothan, AL (WTVY)-- Additional screening measures have been put in place for Houston County buildings amid coronavirus fears.

“We'll be asking questions (during a screening process) about travel and, if anyone is ill, we may do some temperature scanning,” Chairman Mark Culver said Monday.

He met with department heads and others to discuss the pandemic's current status and its effect on the local area.

All county buildings are open with the exception of the Houston County Courthouse. It is closed under a state mandate, with exceptions made for voter issues and emergency judicial services.

City of Dothan department heads and commissioners also met Monday, considering measures it may need to take if the situation continues to worsen.

“We need to make sure first and foremost that all the essential services are being met,” Mayor Mark Saliba said. “We have to make sure we can pick up trash, have police, fire and emergency services.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our daily lives more than any single catastrophic event in decades. People are being told to stay a minimum of six feet from each other, groups of more than 10 are discouraged, and the Alabama Department of Public Health advises people to stay home, when possible.

Birmingham's mayor, late Monday, ordered that city's restaurants and bars must close to on-premises consumption for at least eight days.

Saliba said there have been no discussions about taking similar action in Dothan.

The CDC has said restaurants should limit customers to 50 percent of capacity.

Almost all events have been canceled and worship services scrubbed. The latest sports casualty of the pandemic is the Talladega Speedway races in April that have been postponed indefinitely. Wrestlemania, WWE's signature event, will go on but without an audience.

There is speculation that the remainder of the school year, or much of it, may be canceled. Students have already been sent home until at least April 6 but that date will likely be moved forward.

The economy is taking a nosedive, something that concerns Saliba, who said he's already heard from some who have lost their jobs.

The city of Dothan and others, including Selma Baptist Church, will offer meals for children who need a meal and the city will give a 30 day grace period to those struggling to pay their utility bill.