NEWBURYPORT — The City Council approved an order Monday to extend the expiration date of recently issued employee parking permits due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The meeting was held via Zoom following a recently adopted order by the council to temporarily hold all of its meetings remotely to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The parking order, sponsored by Councilors Sharif Zeid, James McCauley and Jared Eigerman, allows City Clerk Richard Jones to extend the expiration date of parking permits issued since March 10 by the number of days calculated between Gov. Charlie Baker’s declaration of a state of emergency and the ultimate rescission date.

The council approved the order unanimously.

Permit holders will be notified of the changes through email, according to the order. 

The council also voted unanimously to receive and file an order proposed earlier this month to temporarily ban reusable bags at local grocery stores as a protective measure against the spread of coronavirus.

Noting that a similar order was issued statewide by Baker, councilors agreed a local order was no longer necessary.

The council unanimously approved a $13,000 transfer to pay for relocating the city’s emergency operations center to the DPS Administration Building, where it can be used by the Fire Department to conduct drills. The money will be used to install equipment, and pay utilities and other costs associated with the location change.

The emergency operations center is now based in a seldom-used National Guard building at 57 Low St., which the transfer says was closed due to “untenable conditions.”

Also at the meeting Monday, Fire Chief Christopher LeClaire explained that the Low Street building’s mold issues have caused some employees to become sick while conducting  drills in previous years. 

The council unanimously approved a $80,000 transfer from the vehicle fuel reserve account for the Department of Public Services’ Highway Division fuel usage.

The council approved second readings of the appointments of Jane Healey to the Community Preservation Committee, Paul Harrington to the Tree Commission and Maurice Southworth to the Fruit Street Historic District Commission

The council also approved the appointment of Matthew D. Pieniazek to the Waterfront Trust.

To see the packet for the meeting, visit https://www.cityofnewburyport.com/sites/newburyportma/files/agendas/03-30-2020_council_packetv3_final_0.pdf.

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