Mayor Robyn Tannehill addressed current issues such as COVID-19 vaccinations, the possibility of the beloved Double Decker event and more to students and Associated Student Body members in their second-annual Town Hall Q&A on Monday night.
Currently, Lafayette County is over 50% vaccinated against COVID-19 when only including those who have had two shots. Tannehill said the City of Oxford has been pushing for vaccinations with the current vaccination sites that happen every Friday before home football games, which have helped those who speak a different language to be vaccinated properly.
“In our Hispanic community, we have had a large increase in vaccinations,” Tannehill said. “We have had translators at all of our pop-up sites and found that it’s a bummer when you show up and you only speak Spanish and all the paperwork is in English. So, people were showing up that didn’t speak English and seeing this paperwork and going ‘well, never mind.’ So we are trying to break down barriers everywhere we can.”
Tannehill said last weekend, the pop-up site gave over 100 vaccinations and stated how Oxford is doing well compared to other counties and communities across the state.
The City of Oxford had eight people in the hospital with COVID-19 this morning, with two being in intensive care unit beds. Tannehill is making sure that the hospitals are keeping up with patients and that there’s availability.
“We are focused on how we keep beds available to the hospital, and we are managing that very well,” she said.
In addition to current vaccination records, the ASB facilitators asked the mayor about student safety on and off-campus, as well as addressing issues such as increasing police presence on the Square and around town.
Tannehill emphasized that the Oxford Police Department is working hard to provide safety across the city, especially on game day weekends such as LSU.
“I know that people love to think that we’re ‘Mayberry’ and I love for people to think that most of the time, but we’re not,” she said. “You’ll just have to trust that there are some things that we are trying to protect our community from that we will continue to do. Sometimes that’s going to look like an increased presence.”
Tannehill also encouraged students to understand that increased presence is simply to make sure students and community members get home from a night on the town safely.
In addition to policing and student safety, ASB asked the mayor about infrastructure and mentioned the fact that students often walk home from the bars late at night. ASB member Jonathan Amlong asked whether there was a plan in place to help ease the number of students that decide to walk home.
Tannehill and the city are working on coordinating a transportation hub where designated drives, taxis, Lyft and Uber drivers can park for those in need of a ride home. The “transportation hub” is said to be in surveillance by UPD and cameras as well.
“Our hope in providing these transportation hubs is that people will stack like you say, after a special event where you leave a concert or you leave a football game or what have you, and you’ve got Ubers and taxis that are just sitting there in a line ready to go,” she said. “Our goal is to get you home safe. We have never given anybody a public drunk at the safe site, even people who can’t tell us their name or where they live.”
Tannehill said she doesn’t want to cancel the annual Double Decker event this year and will keep up with COVID-19 numbers and regulations in order for the event to take place.
In order for the community to exceed its already desirable nature and sense of community, Tannehill encourages students and community members to give feedback.
“First of all, we need your input on things,” she said. “We need you to buy into what this community is about, we need you to be a good neighbor. We’re a community that still embraces that sense of community. We are growing so quickly, but we’re doing what we can to protect the parts of Oxford that we treasure. And so help us do that.”