City Councilors convened Saturday afternoon, March 14, for an emergency work session to hear from senior staff about implementing further preventive measures in response to the emerging COVID-19 threat. This includes the activation of emergency operations beginning Monday afternoon.
Councilors Roy Anderson, Dave Bowman, Barbara Bynum, Judy Ann Files, and Doug Glaspell met for 53 minutes beginning at 1 p.m. to review the city’s pandemic response plan.
City Manager Bill Bell and Montrose Police Chief Blaine Hall presented council with the city’s emergency management protocols and advised the council that the city is working with community partners in health care, education, social services, and Montrose County Public Health to make sure a community-wide response is in place.
As of Saturday, Montrose County Public Health has reported zero confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Montrose County.
City Manager Bill Bell told councilors that staff has been working on the city’s emergency response plan for the past few weeks to make sure the plan is up-to-date. Bell told councilors that beginning Monday afternoon, the city will officially declare a disaster emergency to secure state and federal resources and to help limit the community’s exposure to COVID-19.
The city will be reassigning staff and rearranging duties leading up to the declaration Monday afternoon to make sure the city is prepared to issue the disaster declaration and making sure most city services can continue uninterrupted.
Montrose Police Chief Blaine Hall said the city is currently on Tier 3 of a four-tiered system, explaining that since the COVID-19 pandemic has reached Colorado — and state and federal agencies have issued warnings — the time to take additional measures against COVID-19 in the City of Montrose has arrived.
Bell said staff would be working all day Sunday to prepare for emergency plan implementation. Bell reported to the council that Montrose County Public Health is the lead agency and the city is working with Montrose County and their emergency management staff to make sure that a consistent stream of information reaches residents through government social media channels, websites, and local media partners.
To further limit exposure, the city is canceling its Monday, March 16 work session and Tuesday, March 17 executive session.
Beginning Monday the city will begin issuing information about how residents can pay utility bills, municipal court fines, apply for permits and conduct business with city staff moving forward.
More information will be available in the coming days.
Click here to view a recording of the meeting.