Hemet City Council proclaims ‘community emergency’ over the coronavirus in special teleconference meet

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Tony Ault
Staff Writer 

In a hastily called emergency meeting Monday morning, March 16, via telephone, the Hemet City Council passed a resolution proclaiming the existence of an emergency situation in the city and local emergency due to the worldwide spread of COVID-19. 

The emergency resolution states the city council “will utilize, to the extent reasonably feasible and appropriate, the ability to conduct its council meeting via teleconferencing and other electronic means to permit council members and members of the public to adopt social distancing to the greatest extent possible while still proceeding with the efficient handling of the city’s business, in compliance with California Executive Order N-25-20.” 

The resolution as written will stand for a 60-day period unless lifted by consequent meetings. 

Joining in the teleconferencing meeting that began at 8 a.m. were all five members of the city council, Hemet fire Chief Scott Brown, police Chief Eddie Pust, the city attorney, the city clerk, city manager Christopher Lopez and members of the media, including the Valley News. 

Discussed was how future council meetings can be held and still keep within most conditions of the Ralph M. Brown Act and how the city can reach out for financial and the public safety needs of the community in light of the pandemic. 

The public will be allowed to tune in to the meetings in progress via the telephone, where they can still comment or through other electronic media. 

The resolution reads “the spread and potential further spread of COVID-19 constitutes a situation that severely impairs the public health and safety within the city of Hemet and constitutes conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property within the city of Hemet.” 

The Hemet City Hall will remain open for limited visits. Bills or fees may be paid on the city website at www.cityofhemet.org and link to the various departments. 

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.