Mountain View joins numerous cities and counties in California to make the emergency declaration as the proliferation of the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19, has become a global pandemic. There have been 175 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County, according to public health officials.
In an emergency proclamation on March 12, City Manager Kimbra McCarthy wrote that the spread of COVID-19 has imposed "extraordinary" requirements and expenses on the city, causing it to divert resources away from day-to-day operations.
Precautionary measures include a sweeping cancellation of all city events through the end of the month, including performances at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts.
"The city's foremost priority is to maintain the health and safety of the community and our employees," Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga said in a statement accompanying the declaration.
McCarthy told council members that, since the declaration, all remaining citywide programs and activities have been canceled and the city's workforce has been asked to work from home however possible. The city's Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has also been partially activated to plan for disaster management if the spread of the virus continues to worsen.
"It is my hope that all of these actions, while difficult and unprecedented in the course of Mountain View's history as a city, will assist the greater community to slow the spread of this virus and protect the most vulnerable among us," McCarthy said.
The city's emergency declaration went into effect simultaneously with an order by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department ordering all residents to shelter in place and only leave home for essential activities from March 17 through April 10. The two announcements, coupled together, has significantly scaled back the city's operations.
Public Works Director Dawn Cameron said her department is focused specifically on the emergency and urgent public service needs, like water main breaks, sanitary sewer overflows, roadway hazards and emergency permits. Every city construction project has been suspended with the exception of work on the Shoreline sewage pump station, which is at a critical juncture and needs to continue through the end of the week.
The city is no longer providing inspections services, Cameron said, meaning permit holders need to suspend construction projects in the city.
Police Chief Max Bosel told council members that calls for service have been at normal levels, but that his department is no longer working on lower-priority activities and community engagement. Discretionary parking enforcement, for example, has been suspended.
No police officers have been reported exposure to the virus so far, while one employee of the Mountain View Fire Department was tested for the virus. Fire Chief Juan Diaz said the test came back negative.
Council members were quick to renew the emergency declaration, with Mayor Margaret Abe-Koga saying that residents can rest assured that the city is working at "top speed" to address the concerns and needs of residents during the difficult situation.
"Every bit counts and it will take all of us working together, but I know we will be able to weather this storm if we stand united," Abe-Koga said.
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