On Friday morning, Rhinelander Mayor Chris Frederickson issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency in the City of Rhinelander in response to COVID-19, setting several restrictions in place until April 17.
The move came just hours after the mayor sent a notice that the March 23 City Council meeting had been postponed.
The reasons for issuing the proclamation were listed in a series of "whereas" statements, including that as of Friday, there were 155 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state with that number expected to grow.
According to the proclamation, "executive officers of the city have met and discussed the need for immediate action."
"Because of such emergency conditions, the Common Council is unable to meet with promptness to address the issue immediately" but "these emergency conditions require a proactive response to stop the spread of COVID-19, including providing support to implement federal, state, and county public health operations and recommendations," the proclamation states
"During the State of Emergency, it is hereby ordered that the City of Rhinelander will make all of its resources available to adopt, implement, and support all actions and recommendations of Federal, State, and County public health agencies," the proclamation continues.
The order outlines the following specific actions:
The Fire Chief of the City of Rhinelander (Terry Williams) shall act as the Emergency Management Director for the City of Rhinelander during the period of this emergency.
All in-person meetings and gatherings involving City employees, staff, and/or elected officials are suspended for the duration of this emergency. All meetings of the Common Council, Committees, Boards, and/or Commissions may be conducted in a safe manner consistent with the Governor's Order which will likely prevent personal on-site access to the public, however, access will be granted to the public to the full extent practicable.
All City sponsored events will either be cancelled or rescheduled during the emergency.
Public access to City facilities shall be limited. To the extent possible, all operations shall be made available on-line and/or available for external drop off to the City.
The election process shall continue in accordance with the Orders of the Governor but access to polling locations may be limited to a certain number of persons at any given time who will all be required to maintain a social distancing space of six (6) feet if possible.
All persons entering City Hall for voting will be monitored and asked to sanitize their hands, maintain a proper distance from others and exercise extreme caution.
All City of Rhinelander business travel is suspended for the duration of this emergency.
The City shall take all further actions reasonable and necessary to prevent exposure to and/or spread of COVID-19, including complying with all federal, state, and county laws, rules, and/or orders as they may issue.
Under state statute, because Frederickson issued the proclamation without input from the City Council, it is "subject to ratification, alteration, modification or repeal by the governing body as soon as that body can meet, but the subsequent action taken by the governing body shall not affect the proper validity of this proclamation."
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