FLORENCE — The Florence City Council passed a resolution Monday, March 23, declaring a local state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

“I know this is an incredibly hard time. Our day-to-day lives have taken a dramatic shift and our health and well-being are at stake due to coronavirus/COVID-19,” said Florence Mayor Joe Henry at the start of the meeting. “My heart is breaking as I watch the widespread impacts this is having on all aspects of our daily family, social and business lives.”

“We are with you in this, we care for you, we are doing our best as City and community leaders to work through this and lead in this crisis.”

The declaration, which will remain in effect until June 30, will allow the city to take steps necessary to respond to the emergency in legal and timely manner, according to a press release form the City of Florence.

The steps could include:

  • Requesting assistance, funds and reimbursement from the State of Oregon and federal agencies;
  • Adopting temporary rules and policies regarding city facilities, funds, fees, resources, and staff;
  • Entering into contracts for services and aid agreements with other governmental and private entities;
  • Cancelling non-essential City meetings and events; Emergency procurement of goods, services, and public improvements; and
  • Policy to not send shut-off notices or shut off water for nonpayment of unpaid utility bills.

Under the declaration, the city manager would be granted authority to take actions and issue orders necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the city’s residents as long as the actions are in compliance with city, state and federal law.

“During this time, it is important that we take care of ourselves, our neighbors, and vulnerable individuals in our communities by following regulations and precautions from State officials and medical experts,” said Henry. “I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for each individual to follow the Governor’s updated orders that were released today to ‘Stay home to Save Lives.’”

On Monday, the city also approved a resolution to establish temporary COVID-19 public meeting procedures.

The full declaration of emergency and temporary meeting procedures can be viewed on the City’s website at https://www.ci.florence.or.us/council/city-council-special-meeting-3.

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