MEDFORD, Ore. — The City of Medford has declared a local State of Emergency in response to the new coronavirus and all the challenges that come with it, according to a City statement.
Officials stressed that this is not the same thing as a public health emergency, as "that is not the City's role." This does not change anything for businesses or organizations in the City, officials said.
"The declaration allows the City additional flexibility in terms of limiting access to public buildings, directing city staff and delegating resources as well as acquiring needed resources related to health and safety," the City said in a statement.
The Medford City Council is scheduled to ratify the emergency declaration at the City Council Meeting on Thursday.
“We are working diligently to respond to this rapidly evolving situation,” said Mayor Gary Wheeler. “This declaration is not meant to cause panic, but instead, assure residents that the City is taking every precaution possible to prevent the spread of this virus in our community.”
Medford says it will be waiving late fees for the March utility service billing cycle. Residents are encouraged to use the City's online services.
All municipal proceedings, with the exception of arraignments, are postponed until at least April 21. Community members are encouraged to call Municipal Court to reschedule currently-scheduled proceedings. Individuals wishing to resolve tickets or cases are asked to contact the court by phone in lieu of visiting the court in person.
"We continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide updates as they become available," the City said.
As of Monday, March 16, City Council meetings are expected to continue, but in support of state and federal guidelines for social distancing, the City strongly encourages livestreaming the meetings from home. Anyone who wishes to communicate with the Council is also welcome to email email@example.com.