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Mayor Declares State of Emergency Due to COVID-19

Mayor Stephen Benjamin has declared a State of Emergency, effective immediately, in an effort to reduce the spread of and exposure to the Coronavirus. The attached ordinance will be sent to City Council for review and discussion during tomorrows council meeting. 

ORDINANCE NO.: 2020-031

An Emergency Order Declaring a State of Emergency for the City of Columbia, South Carolina

WHEREAS, SARS-CoV-2 (the Coronavirus) the virus that causes the disease COVID-19 is responsible for an outbreak that began in Wuhan, China, and is a serious public health concern;
and,

WHEREAS, on March 6, 2020 the City of Columbia convened a meeting of the Midlands Coronavirus Task Force to begin working with other government agencies in an effort to prevent
the spread of the disease; and,

WHEREAS, on March 10, 2020, the City of Columbia suspended the normal operating procedures for City Council; and,

WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020 The World Health Organization declared a world-wide pandemic; and,

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020 the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump declared a national emergency for the United States and its territories over the Coronavirus; and,

WHEREAS, on Friday, March 13, 2020, the Governor of the State of South Carolina Henry McMaster declared a State of Emergency due to the Coronavirus;

WHEREAS, as of March 16, 2020 there have been thirty-three cases reported in the State of South Carolina; and,

WHEREAS, the City Council finds that it is in the public interest to protect public health and the general welfare of the public to temporarily suspend the normal operating procedures of
City Council; and,

WHEREAS, the City of Columbia is working with other government agencies in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease; and,

WHEREAS, Sec. 2-86 of the Ordinances of the City of Columbia allows for the adoption of emergency ordinances on one reading without notice or hearing by affirmative two-thirds of the
members present, and shall expire automatically on the 61st day following enactment; and,

WHEREAS, Sec. 7-32 of the Ordinances of the City of Columbia allows for the imposition of a curfew, Sec. 7-33 allows for limitation of application to any area specifically designated and
described within the jurisdiction of the city;

WHEREAS, there is an increased risk of the COVID-19 virus spreading within the population at gatherings of large groups such as public festivals and events; and,

WHEREAS, it has been determined by the Mayor and City Council that the temporary postponement of all permits allowing for the congregation at public and private events, festivals
and private events to be held on City-owned property or City-owned property operated by another party be implemented effective as of March 16, 2020 in an effort to reduce the spread of
the COVID-19 virus; and,

WHEREAS, it is recommended that businesses restrict occupancy of patrons to no more than half of their designated legal capacity as set by the Fire Marshall and to restrict patrons to
no more than six (6) people per table with a distance of at least six (6) feet between tables. It is further recommended that patrons be encouraged to use take out, drive through and delivery
options; and,

WHEREAS, in the event that the recommendations of social distancing are not immediately put into place, the Mayor and Council at their discretion may mandate these measures and
implement a curfew;

NOW, THEREFORE,

BE ORDAINED by the Mayor and Council this ___ day of _________, 2020, that the City of Columbia hereby declares a State of Emergency for the City of Columbia; and,

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED that it is mandated that businesses restrict occupancy of patrons to no more than half of their designated legal capacity as set by the Fire Marshall and to
restrict patrons to no more than six (6) people per table with a distance of at least six (6) feet between tables. It is further recommended that patrons be encouraged to use take out, drive
through and delivery options

BE IT FURTHER ORDAINED that this emergency ordinance shall be terminated by the issuance of another ordinance or shall automatically expire on the 61st day after enactment of
this ordinance.