West Point declares state of emergency

Published 12:21 pm Saturday, March 21, 2020

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WEST POINT — After unanimous approval from the city council, the city of West Point approved an emergency ordinance that put the city under a state of emergency effective Saturday.

The state of emergency will continue for 60 days unless the mayor and council agree to either extend or shorten the duration.

With the state of emergency, gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited on city-owned land. This includes parks, public square, public space, cemeteries, playgrounds, recreation areas, etc. Sidewalks and designated pedestrian areas can still be used for exercise as long as there isn’t a public gathering taking place.

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City manager Ed Moon was given the power to decide what services are necessary or discretionary, temporarily suspend discretionary services and tell those employees not to return to work for the time being. Employees will get their regular pay if they are told not to return to work.

Deadlines for business payments or permits will be on hold until 15 days after the state of emergency has ended.

City hall is closed to the public but the customer utility dropbox will remain open.

Restaurants and businesses are required to follow the recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and the Georgia Department of Public Health. As of Saturday morning, businesses are still open. West Point Mayor Steve Tramell plans to follow the state of Georgia’s plan for businesses.

“We encourage everyone to monitor local information and certainly look at the Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control websites for information regarding the virus and how to conduct yourself,” Tramell said. “I hope everyone will get off the streets and try to shelter yourself in order to stop the spread of this virus … Treat everybody like they have it even though they don’t. Keep your distance. Act like you have it, even though you don’t because you don’t know who you’ve come in contact with.”

Alongside the state of emergency, the council unanimously approved a mutual aid agreement with the state, which helps first responders if they are overwhelmed at any point.