Monday, March 16, 2020

COVID-19: The City's Response

Today, at 1:00 p.m., Mayor Kamal Johnson declared a local state of emergency.

In his statement, Johnson enumerated the following actions:
  1. Public access to the City's administrative offices will be limited. People are asked to conduct business with the City online or by phone. The City Clerk and the Code Enforcement Office will be making special appointments for any necessary "in-person interactions."
  2. All City employee travel will restricted, and all conferences and workshops will be canceled.
  3. All nonessential public meetings will be postponed. Common Council meetings will be held, but the meetings of all other boards and commissions will be canceled or postponed.
  4. The public will not be permitted to attend Common Council meetings. Meetings will be live streamed. Aldermen may attend by electronic means, but the Council president or his designee must attend the meeting in person.
  5. No large public gatherings may be held. This requirement also applies to houses of worship.
To read the entire statement, click here.


  1. Astonishing that the Common Council will meet. That means if the public wants to attend and comment on anything, they need to break social distancing protocol and put themselves at risk. What's that about?

    1. Breaking social distancing protocol is not an option. See the fourth item: "The public will not be permitted to attend Common Council meetings."

    2. I have my problems with some of our Common Council members, but even I trust there won't be any non-essential resolutions passed at this meeting. That would be incredibly unethical and totally break public trust in our institutions.

    3. I too hope that the Council is prudent in what they are putting forward to vote on tonight. As our tourism industry has been shut down, for the most part, across the country & around the globe, I hope that the de-funding of the tourism board is tabled for a future conversation.

      The Tourism Board can/will take on a new urgent and important role, when they can again meet - to find solutions to assist in the reopening of our local businesses and find ways to drive back dollars to them, so that our friends and neighbors, who have just lost their employment, can again regain employment and our local businesses flourish.

      Voting to de-fund anything, or spending except on essentials would be good to postpone till we have a better handle on what the next couple of months look like.

      These are the times to look for out of the box thinking and not just conduct business as is.

  2. The Mayor's steps are welcome and correct.

    Here is info on the Governor's emergency measures to address public meetings cribbed from my comment earlier in the day on the Meetings post:

    • Governor Cuomo’s Emergency Executive Order 202.1 permits meetings such as Council and committee meetings to be held with public participation as long as they are streamed and recorded. This would serve to safeguard the health of elected officials who must meet and the public’s right to follow discussions. (see
    “Suspension of law allowing the attendance of meetings telephonically or other similar service:
    • “Article 7 of the Public Officers Law, to the extent necessary to permit any public body to meet and take such actions authorized by the law without permitting in public in-person access to meetings and authorizing such meetings to be held remotely by conference call or similar service, provided that the public has the ability to view or listen to such proceeding and that such meetings are recorded and later transcribed;”

  3. Carole, thank you for continuing to cover this all so meticulously!