City of Port Townsend operates at reduced levels

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Many branches of the City of Port Townsend government have changed their availability to continue to deliver essential services while attempting to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and meet the governor’s “stay home, stay healthy” order.

City Manager John Mauro urges residents to continue to take preventive and reactionary measures seriously so the community can attempt to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Despite the hardship and difficult circumstances the city and many local businesses are facing, Mauro said it might prove that once the crisis is over, the community will have found new and more efficient ways to operate.

When the crisis will end, however, can only be predicted. Mauro said the city is trying to start planning for the recovery while it manages the day-to-day.

“It’s clear this is a huge financial hit, and it will be catastrophic for some. So how do we plan for that recovery so that we cannot only bounce back but bounce forward?” he said.

City offices and many facilities have already been closed to the public but more closures and guidelines were announced on the city website on Monday.

City council meetings

The next city council meeting is scheduled for April 6 and, to comply with the governor’s order, the chamber doors will no longer be open to the public.

Meetings can be viewed remotely through cityofpt.us and public comments can be submitted in advance to publiccomment@cityofpt.us. Comments submitted before the start of the meeting will be read aloud for up to three minutes per person.

Police

Organization of the hiring of a new police chief has been indefinitely suspended.

Violation of the governor’s order to stay home except for essential supplies and outdoor exercise is a gross misdemeanor and will be enforced “when appropriate,” according to the City of Port Townsend website.

Limited staffing

The public works and finance department have begun limited staffing and a rotation schedule to continue essential operations while also protecting employees. Resident requests to both departments are being prioritized accordingly.

Development services

The majority of commercial and residential construction is considered a “non-essential” function by the governor’s stay home order. City inspections of construction and construction activities will cease for a minimum of two weeks. City permit processing has also ceased for the time being.

Certain emergency home and appliance repairs or replacements are exempt from the order. Physical or remote emergency inspections at the discretion of the building official may continue. Requests for an emergency inspection can be submitted to agarcia@cityofpt.us

Parks and recreation facilities

The Mountain View Pool is closed and will be reassessed at the end of the mandated school closure. Expiration dates for current memberships will be extended past the closure.

Most parks, open spaces and trails remain open to the public, but a number of facilities are closed including playgrounds, restrooms, picnic areas, the city dog parks, the city skatepark, campgrounds and sport courts.

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