As we address the COVID-19 pandemic, we are only beginning to understand the full impact this issue could have on our everyday lives. The best thing we can all do during this unprecedented response is to be informed, follow the guidance offered by medical professionals and not panic. Our thoughts go out to any who have been directly affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
The City Council, City Staff, and I believe it is our responsibility to prioritize the health of our residents and maintain city services, while also supporting our local emergency management and health officials as they work to contain the virus. With that in mind, we will continue to make decisions that are guided by those priorities, our organizational values, and scientific advisories.
I wanted to share what the City is doing to support the efforts to contain the virus and the health of our residents. We are taking precautionary steps, including increasing our efforts to clean and sanitize public areas, particularly those where there is heavy traffic, such as City Hall. We are also strongly encouraging people who can use electronic forms to contact City Hall for their needs to do so. We have significant abilities to interact over the phone, via email, and on our website. Residents and customers can secure permits, pay utility bills, and have their inquiries answered in electronic ways and I hope you will take advantage of those opportunities. Also, if you are not feeling well, we strongly urge you to stay home, unless it is an emergency. We have asked City Staff to take additional precautions, so if you are in City facilities and you happen to see City employees wear personal protective equipment (for example, City employees who handle cash may wear gloves to do so), please do not be alarmed. Personal Protective Equipment is simply a precaution. There are some upcoming special events that may be cancelled or rescheduled. Again, this is a precautionary measure done to achieve the heath officials’ recommendation.
While we are currently maintaining regular operations, we are prepared to modify operations with options that still allow us to serve residents. City leadership is currently reviewing Continuity of Operations Plans specifically with COVID-19 in mind to ensure we are ready to meet the challenges of this continually evolving situation. I emphasize again, it is important to understand the facts and not panic. If you have questions about COVID-19 and what you can do to prevent the spread of the virus, I encourage you to review the information on an official health website. We have posted a link to the Polk County Health Department’s COVID-19 information site, so that you can easily access up-to-date information.