AMESBURY — The mayor has declared a local state of emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Mayor Kassandra Gove stated in a press release Sunday that she met with the city's Board of Health as well as Health Director Jack Morris and decided to declare the state of emergency.
Although there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus in the city, the local state of emergency allows Amesbury to receive state and federal funding as well as potential reimbursement for COVID-19-related expenses.
Gove stated that the city will need to pay for Health Department and emergency services overtime as well as legal fees, expenses for printing services, and other costs during the health crisis.
The city may waive interest and fees for bills as well as delay some permitting and home inspections, and cancel recreation programs.
City Chief Financial Officer Angel Wills is expected to share biweekly expense and revenue reports online at www.amesburyma.gov/annual-reports.
Gove stated in the press release that the health and safety of city staff and residents is her top priority.
"The COVID-19 outbreak is a situation we are taking very seriously, and we are asking all of our residents to do the same," Gove said. "Amesbury does not currently have a confirmed case of COVID-19, but we expect that to happen at some point. We understand that social distancing can be difficult, but the more we are able to do that as a community, the faster we'll be able to get back to our regular routines."
Gove added that the city asks residents to continue to practice good hygiene and wash their hands for at least 20 seconds; limit how often they touch things in public places such as gas pumps, door handles, push plates and credit card pin pads; avoid playgrounds, skate parks and other public places; and keep their social circles small or limited to family members.
The city also asks that those who feel sick not go to the emergency room but to call their primary care physician for guidance and stay home if anyone in their family is sick.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.