City of Shawano issues emergency declaration

Non-essential staff being sent home, meetings to be held remotely
Tim Ryan

SHAWANO — The city Monday issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The proclamation followed the announcement that Gov. Tony Evers planned to issue a stay-at-home order closing all non-essential businesses and services statewide.

The Shawano proclamation states that the city will make all of its resources available to adopt, implement and support all actions and recommendations of federal, state and county public health agencies.

Under the emergency declaration, all in-person meetings and gatherings involving city employees, staff and elected officials are being suspended.

Any necessary meetings of the Shawano Common Council, committees, commissions and boards would be conducted remotely.

Currently, there are no meetings scheduled but the city will likely have to hold its April reorganizational meeting following the April 7 election.

“If we have to meet, if there is something that is required that we need to do in a timely manner, we will meet but it will be done remotely,” City Clerk Lesley Nemetz said.

“Right now, our intention is that we will be doing our meetings via Skype and we will be doing Facebook live events to have that out to the public as well as hoping we can also broadcast that through our cable feed,” Nemetz said.

“Another option that we’re looking into is having a call-in number where people would be able to call in and listen,” she said.

Much of the emergency declaration includes steps the city has already taken, including closing down City Hall to the public.

However, one of the key things the new emergency declaration is doing, Nemetz said, is putting the city in a position to receive any federal funding assistance that might be available.

“The other thing that it is doing is putting into effect our emergency preparedness plan and response directive, which then allows us to send home those non-essential employees,” she said.

Non-essential city personnel will either work from home or be excused from work.

City-sponsored events will either be canceled or rescheduled.

All city business travel is suspended for the duration of the emergency.

The city will continue to provide essential services, including emergency services, garbage and recycling, and the Shawano County Landfill.

Curbside absentee voting will continue at City Hall during the emergency, with hours extended to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

At this point, the state has no plans to cancel the April 7 presidential primary and general election, according to Nemetz.

“It’s basically up to each individual clerk to figure out how they’re going to have a safe and effective election on the seventh,” she said. “We’re in the process of coming up with different ideas and plans to ensure the safety of our staff as well as the residents who choose to come out and vote. But that’s also why we’re encouraging people so strongly to take care of this in advance and request their ballot either by mail or by stopping down and doing the in-person curbside voting.”