Adapting to the constraints of social distancing due to the Coronavirus, Wildwood commissioners met Monday night by phone, segregated in separate rooms of city hall.
Mayor Ed Wolf sat alone at the table and called for roll-call votes on every agenda item. Commissioners approved resolutions declaring a state of emergency for the city and creating an infectious disease policy.
City Manager Jason McHugh said he is suspending utility shutoffs for 30 days due to the crisis.
Seven people were present in the meeting room, including Wolf, McHugh, Police Chief Randy Parmer and Cassandra Smith, city clerk and chief financial officer.
The state of emergency declaration, effective through April 14, gives the city manager or a person he designates the authority to protect the public due to the coronavirus crisis.
McHugh said the declaration prepares the city for unforeseen issues and also would help Wildwood qualify for aid if needed from the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA).
The infectious disease policy gives the city manager “broad discretion to implement reasonable measures and take proactive steps to prevent or reduce the transmission of infectious diseases” in the city workplace.
Measures include regular cleaning of frequently used areas such as bathrooms and asking employees to stay home if they have disease symptoms. Employees also are asked to learn about precautions to prevent disease transmission.
In extreme circumstances, the policy also allows the city manager to set up work-from-home or other alternative work arrangements.
The policy states that the city will not discriminate against any job applicant or employee with an infectious disease, but reserves the right to exclude them from the workplace or other activities if necessary to protect the person or other employees.
Recognizing the economic hardship caused by the coronavirus, McHugh said he will not shut off anyone’s utilities due to non-payment for 30 days.
Wolf suggested McHugh talk to each user to make sure economic hardship is the reason they can’t pay the bill.
Commissioner Joe Elliott said a few may try to get away with something, but praised the action that he said will benefit those facing serious hardship.