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During a Facebook Live presentation Monday afternoon (March 16th), Lubbock mayor Dan Pope called for calm and common sense in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pope praised Covenant and University Medical Center, as well as companies including Atmos Energy and Suddenlink, which have taken steps to work with customers during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Atmos announced it will temporarily suspend natural gas disconnections.

Meanwhile, Suddenlink owner Altice USA said it will be providing free broadband access to many families for the next 2 months.

"For households with K-12 and/or college students who may be displaced due to school closures and who do not currently have home internet access, we are offering our Altice Advantage 30 Mbps broadband solution for free for 60 days to any new customer household within our footprint," Altice said.

Mayor Pope said he will declare a public health disaster tonight to limit the number of people gathering in one place to no more than 250 people. He added that citizens should continue to demonstrate good hygiene and social distancing to help reduce any risk.

He was also quick to point out that "we still do not have a confirmed case" of the coronavirus in Lubbock County, adding that he wasn't concerned if people criticized him for the actions he's committed to taking.

"I hope as a community we can take a real deep breath," Mayor Pope said. "I've heard the arguments. I know that I'll be accused of overreacting. And if that's the case, I'll be guilty as charged."

The mayor also urged citizens to not hoard food and other vital necessities, asking consumers to only buy a week's worth of food.

Grocery stores in Lubbock have limited store hours to provide workers ample time to restock shelves. Two 24-hour Market Street locations (50th and Indiana and 19th and Quaker) will now be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Walmart has also cut hours to 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.

United Supermarkets has also placed purchase limits on specific items, including toilet paper and hand sanitizer, to help ensure as many people as possible are able to buy them.

Schools in Lubbock County, as of Monday, are still slated to reopen after Spring Break on March 23rd, Pope said. However, even that could change. Lubbock ISD proactively provided students with Chromebooks ahead of the break so they'd be prepared to remotely study and complete assignments.

You can see the full presentation at the City of Lubbock's Facebook page.

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