The Oceanside City Council held a special meeting today to adopt a resolution to ratify the Proclamation of Local Emergency signed Monday, March 16, 2020, by the Director of Emergency Services. This step enables the City to take additional legal, operational, and recovery measures that may be needed to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic that is affecting communities in San Diego County and across the nation.
At the special meeting, the City Manager outlined steps the City has taken: activating the Emergency Operations Center; cancelling public gatherings; closing public counters; ordering the telecommuting many staff members; and ordering increased cleaning of City facilities and restrooms. The City has ramped up public communications and has created a dedicated webpage which is updated daily with new developments. Staff is reaching out to elderly residents and compiling a list of food distribution sites for those in need. The OPD Homeless Outreach Team is providing informational material to contacts, and the County of San Diego has provided hand-washing stations in areas where homeless residents may gather. San Diego County Department of Public Health is arranging for quarantine rooms for Countywide homeless residents who may show symptoms or who test positive for the virus.
At the meeting, the City outlined its pandemic-specific Continuity of Operations Plan, which will be shared with the City Council this week. The plan identifies critical essential services, staff and backup staff to maintain essential City services during this pandemic.
The City Manager discussed the budget and outlined measures directed to eliminate non-essential spending and pulling projects deemed non-urgent from Council agendas during this emergency phase. The good news is that the five-year forecast was very conservative, and the City has built up its reserves. The City Manager will now prepare a “bare bones” budget for next fiscal year, and urged early action by staff to minimize the financial impacts that COVID-19 may bring.
The City Council authorized staff to develop a Recovery Plan, including an economic assistance program for businesses directly impacted. Other relief measures taken by the City include offering deferred payments for Water Utilities, suspending any water shut-offs for non-payment, and suspending parking enforcement for street sweeping until further notice.
Additionally, the City Council approved a plan for City staff to allow for three weeks of non-cashable emergency leave time for those who may need it, to accommodate for new developments such as unplanned child care issues.
The Council discussed the new orders regulating public meetings and gatherings, and directed staff to develop a process to conduct City Council meetings electronically/telephonically in the interim. As it stands, residents may email comments regarding Council agenda items to cityclerk@Oceansideca.org or fill out an electronic position slip. A process to phone in comments is in the works.
Online services, including permitting and bill payments, remain available; bills may also be paid by phone, or by mail. Utility payments may be made at a drop boxes available at the City’s Cashier Office.
San Diego County Public Health Department remains the lead agency locally. Links to their website and many others at the local, state and federal levels can be found on the city’s website. Residents are encouraged to call 211 for information.
This afternoon, the County of San Diego updated its orders to include the closures of all gyms and fitness centers starting at midnight. They also clarified that the order barring gatherings of 50 or people does not affect airports, public transportation or other essential businesses — like grocery stores — where people can practice social distancing. The County Public Officer is not recommending shelter in place at this time. They are recommending no gatherings of groups of 10 or more. At this time, daycare and child care centers may still remain open, provided that the children are in groups of 10 or fewer, and that they remain in the same groups each day.
The County relayed that as of today, there are 80 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in San Diego County and zero deaths, 698 confirmed cases in California with 12 deaths, 6,421 confirmed cases in the U.S. with 108 deaths, and nearly 200,000 confirmed cases worldwide with almost 8,000 deaths.
Citizens can get real-time updates from the County via text messages. Text COSD COVID19 to the number 468-311 to sign up.
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