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COVID-19 precautions: City Hall closed, but city services are not

Vicky O. Misa

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Amid the mass exodus from offices across the nation, many City of Shawnee employees are no different; they are following similar edicts being handed down all over the globe. But, though City Hall appears forsaken, city services are still intact.

“At this time all City operations are functioning,” Shawnee City Manager Chance Allison said. “We have closed City facilities to public access, except the police department at City Hall.”

He said at this time funerals are being allowed to carry on at the cemetery in groups of 10 or less.

“In the event we have to reduce staffing due to COVID-19 impacts, our departments have plans to ensure all core services will remain operational,” Allison said. “Core services, in this case, consisting of utility services and public safety.”

Recently Mayor Richard Finley amended last week's declaration of a state of emergency within the city limits — adding tighter restrictions on activity, including dine-in service at local restaurants. The community appears to be on-board for the most part, as far as complying with minimal-contact efforts.

“In my office, we received numerous calls from restaurants, prior to the announcement to restrict dine-in access, asking when we were going to do so, or if we had already,” he said. “All seemed very cooperative and understanding.”

The mayor, commission, and city administration are taking the mitigation of COVID-19 extremely serious, he said.

“In addition, we also take the decisions made that directly impact the economics of our community extremely serious,” he said. “The heart of this issue is about flattening the curve to allow our healthcare system to keep up with patient demand and to save the lives of our fellow community members.”

Allison said the city's ultimate goal is for the community to unite so everyone can get past the pandemic outbreak.

“I believe we are doing just that,” he said.

He said so far Pottawatomie County continues to have zero positive cases.

“For me, this is positive news that our community is taking this serious and doing what they can to mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Allison said.

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