After the Safety Harbor City Commission met briefly Monday as the city’s Community Development Agency, it held an emergency City Commission meeting to pass a resolution creating a State of Emergency in the city as the world continues to fight the coronavirus.
The Community Development Agency consists of the five Commissioners with Mayor Joe Ayoub as chairman, and it quickly unanimously approved the CRA’s 2020 budget and final changes to its 2019 budget.
The city earlier in the day canceled Monday’s regular Commission meeting and advised citizens that capacity at the CRA and emergency Commission meeting would be limited to 50 people with health protocols being used. Only one resident attended the two brief meetings.
Commission voted 5-0 to approve the State of Emergency, which authorizes City Manager Matthew Spoor to do whatever he needs to do, including spending, to address health concerns without Commission approval. Spoor told Commission that he would communicate to them every step he takes until the State of Emergency is lifted.
The State of Emergency does not affect bars, restaurants or other businesses, but Commission did discuss whether it should act on those businesses as several states and the cities of St. Petersburg and Tampa had. Commission agreed that it would take no action, reserving any restrictions to be made at the state level. This morning, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered bars closed at 5 p.m. today for 30 days. He also reduced restaurant capacity to 50 percent with all tables 6 feet apart.
Most city facilities are closed until further notice, and City Hall will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to noon daily for residents to pay utility bills and pickup and dropoff permits. The city also announced that utility shutoffs for non-payment would be suspended. All city special events, including Third Friday, have been canceled through the end of April.
Spoor also cautioned Commission that one or both of its scheduled Commission meetings in April could be canceled depending on developments in the coronavirus outbreak.