Mayor Derek Dobies has declared a Local State of Emergency in the City of Jackson due to threats to public health caused by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Under this state of emergency, the City will make choices to protect the health of all residents and visitors, with special attention to its most vulnerable residents including our elderly, people with pre-existing health conditions, and those living at or below the poverty line.
“In a city where one in three are in poverty, we recognize the threat coronavirus poses to vulnerable populations in our city, and we are taking a strong stance to be prepared as a community,” said Mayor Dobies. “As we coordinate our emergency response, the declaration positions us to call on additional resources from the county, state and federal government if necessary.”
Dobies says the declaration is precautionary based on the threat to public health and economic damages caused by coronavirus. It allows City administration to activate the City’s emergency operations plan and direct all traditional and non-traditional resources to respond to community needs, and further establish which City-owned buildings and services will continue or change as the pandemic unfolds. The declaration also initiates formal contact with the State of Michigan and positions the City to secure additional aid if the disaster is beyond the control of the regular and emergency city forces.
City administration is already taking the following steps to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus throughout the community:
- City employees who have traveled abroad are self-quarantined as a precaution to COVID-19, and the City has suspended all nonessential business travel outside of Jackson County for employees until further notice.
- In-person City Council meetings, and recreation programming, have been cancelled. City facilities have been closed, and City Hall has been shut down to the general public except by appointment.
- The City is forgoing water shut offs for three weeks to aid with hand-washing and other measures to mitigate spread.
- Precautionary measures are being implemented with incoming communications and bills, and the City is exploring waiving fees for online payment processing to encourage people to pay bills remotely.
- Efforts are being made to reduce physical contact by scaling back non-essential enforcement measures by the City.
- The City is looking into closing down certain buildings and taking public meetings online while being in accordance with the Open Meetings Act.
“This is a bold and proactive measure to help protect the public health of our citizens,” said City Manager Jonathan Greene. “With the support of City Council, we will continue to work with departments and emergency responders to prepare our community and consider future policies to help those recover from some of the decisions that have been, and will be, made.”
Local resources will be utilized to the fullest extent possible, and further precautions and preventative measures will be announced across the City’s social media channels and via CodeRed as the Mayor, City Council, and City administration work together to protect our community. Residents can sign up for CodeRED updates by registering through the City’s website, cityofjackson.org, or downloading the CodeRED mobile app to their device.
A copy of the Local State of Emergency Declaration (PDF) is available online.