Officials urge patience and “normalcy”

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  • The Union Parish Courthouse is closed to the public, but essential workers are still on the job. Gazette photo by BYRON AVERY
    The Union Parish Courthouse is closed to the public, but essential workers are still on the job. Gazette photo by BYRON AVERY
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With the recent Stay-at-Home Order issued Sunday by Governor John Bell Edwards, parish and city government buildings have been closed except to employees.

During this time of uncertainty for many, one parish official leans on some words of wisdom shared on posters across Britain just prior to WWII, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

“I think it’s incumbent upon all of us to remind our citizens to stay as calm as possible and adhere to the recommendations by our officials,” said Director for the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for Union Parish Greg Gossler.

Gossler said that while it may not be “as usual,” business does go on. “We can still go to the grocery store. We can still do banking business. We can still go to the Post Office. We can still attend our church services by video conferencing. And government has to continue also.”

Union Parish Sheriff Dusty Gates wants parish citizens to understand that just because public access has been limited that doesn’t mean Union Parish law enforcement isn’t available to continue to protect and serve the community.

“I’ll say this, if action needs to be taken then we will take that action,” Gates said.

His comments came after discussing how deputies, due to safety precautions for both citizens and law enforcement personnel, are being less stringent on some issues, such as license and title violations. But, if action on any event or complaint is warranted, action will be taken.

Both officials encourage citizens to follow the instructions of state and national leaders and healthcare experts in staying home unless you absolutely have to get out. Wash your hands and sanitize often. Just because you feel fine stay away from others in case you are a carrier and might infect someone else.

“At this time,” Gossler said Tuesday afternoon, “we have no report nor confirmation of any positive tests or illnesses (for Covid-19) in Union Parish. We appear to be the hole in the donut, because it’s all around us.”

While Gates has his force staying safe and keeping others safe during this time of limited movement, calls still come in to the office. “We’re still out there,” he said. “We’re answering all calls. Of course our priority calls will be emergency situations.”

UPSO does still have many of its services available, although some are on a limited basis.

All vehicle inspections, background checks, and fingerprinting are suspended until further notice. Fines and tax payments can be made online at www. unionsheriff.com.

The civil office will be open, but citizens are asked to first contact the office by phone at 318-368-2510. Civil deputies will be available and able to assist with any questions.

“We will be readily available to assist our senior citizens and our veterans with grocery and/or pharmacy delivery if needed,” Gates added. “If you need assistance please call the UPSO office at 318-368-3124.”

Assistance is what is needed in times like these. Helping others is what Union Parish knows how to do best.

Gossler added, “I would remind everyone that if they need assistance, especially through the Police Jury or the Office of Homeland Security, simply call us and we’ll do everything we can to assist you or point you in the right direction.”