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City cancels meetings, closes facilities

Updated March 18, 2020 - 4:10 pm

Boulder City officials recently declared a state of emergency due to the global coronavirus pandemic and have postponed all public meetings and workshops as well as limited access to public facilities.

On Sunday, the city joined with Las Vegas, Henderson, North Las Vegas and Mesquite in declaring an emergency in order to “better manage” the situation with COVID-19, and on Tuesday, March 17, Gov. Steve Sisolak ordered all casinos, restaurants, bars and other nonessential businesses to close for 30 days.

COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a new coronavirus. It has symptoms similar to the flu, including fever, cough and shortness of breath. According to the World Health Organization, it kills about 3.4 percent of the people it infects. Currently, the virus has caused a global pandemic. There have been 55 reported COVID-19 cases in Nevada and one death.

According to the city, its employees are considered “vital” and must continue to report to work. It is limiting public access to City Hall, 401 California Ave., and other municipal buildings through April 1. The date could change per further instruction from Sisolak.

“The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has suggested limiting personal contact in the coming weeks,” said William Gray, emergency manager and fire chief. “We understand that residents have important concerns, but the safety, health and well-being of our community are our most important objectives. Every effort is being made to continue operations without putting people at risk.”

In light of the emergency, Boulder City has postponing all of its meetings and public workshops through April 1 unless a special meeting is called. During that time, all nonemergency business should be handled by email or phone. Items can also be dropped off at the front security station at City Hall. Essential city services, like trash pickup, will continue.

Residents can make utility payments at the back window of City Hall or online at www.bcnv.org. Business license and permit payments can also be made at that location.

According to Mayor Kiernan McManus, the city is suspending utility disconnections on a case-by-case basis.

On Tuesday, March 17, McManus issued a statement encouraging residents to follow the preventative measures from the CDC and Southern Nevada Health District and to remain strong during this time.

“As this outbreak and our response changes, I have faith in the leadership team at City Hall, in Clark County and at the state level to continue a timely, measured response.”

Mayor Kiernan McManus March 17 statement by Boulder City Review on Scribd

City staff is also coordinating with volunteers to help people who are in need.

“Our Emergency Operations Center, EOC, is functioning. First responders are on duty and ready to provide aid if needed,” said Gray. “Our biggest message is that if you are healthy and capable, it is important for neighbors to help neighbors. Call, email or talk to your neighbors and make sure they have food and supplies, especially if they live alone or are elderly.”

The city has created a webpage, http://www.bcnv.org/712/COVID-19, to keep residents up to date with information about the virus and its affect on the community.

Additionally, all Department of Motor Vehicles services at the police department have been suspended until further notice.

Large events at local parks have been canceled through April 16 but the parks themselves remain open, according to city staff.

“We contacted event planners early in the week with concerns about gatherings,” said Parks and Recreation Director Roger Hall. “Asking planners and brides to postpone was difficult but a decision made to protect others. Our 17 parks are still open for kids and adults to get outdoors. Parks are open from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m. and bathrooms are open to the public during those times. We ask that residents maintain social distancing, 6-feet apart, and wash their hands, or their children’s hands, while using the parks.”

The canceled and postponed events include Rock Roll & Stroll, The Big Clean, Beerfest, Easter egg hunt and the Easter sunrise service.

On Sunday, March 15, Sisolak ordered all K-12 schools in Clark County closed until at least April 6, with most staying closed through April 13 when spring break was scheduled to end. Boulder City’s Tiny Tots and Safe Key programs are also closed through that date.

“This is an excellent time for parents to spend with their children while preventing the spread of this virus,” said City Manager Al Noyola. “I’m working to ensure that the 28 percent of Boulder City children with free and reduced-price lunches are still being fed throughout the duration of this ever-evolving matter.”

Boulder City High School Principal Amy Wagner said food will be available at the campus from 8-11 a.m. Monday through Friday during the temporary closure.

“The distribution area is located behind the cafeteria next to the softball practice field,” she said.

Wagner said this food is available for all students.

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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