Tuesday afternoon, the Board of Woodward County Commissioners issued a State of Emergency in Woodward County authorizing Chairman Randy Johnson to execute a proclamation declaring a disaster in Woodward County because of COVID-19 pandemic, closing public access to the courthouse and the Woodward County Event Center and Fairgrounds immediately for a period of 30 days, pending review based on CDC guidelines.
“In the interest of public safety, and the continuity of government and the ability of Woodward County to maintain its core services to its constituents,” District 1 Commissioner Troy White said as he made the motion, seconded by District 3 Commissioner Vernie Matt.
Commissioners also authorized County officers to submit operational plans for board approval due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We're trying to protect our citizens the best that’s humanly impossible, only what you three (commissioners) think is best right now based on the information that you have right now,” District Attorney Christopher M. Boring said. “I personally believe that if we give them a clear direction of what we're doing. That's going to help calm some of the nerves in the community.”
City of Woodward Mayor John Meinders also issued an emergency declaration Tuesday afternoon.
Included in the declaration was a ban of events or gatherings of 50 people or more in or on a city-owned or city-operated property for 30 days. Also, all special event permits with projected attendance of 50 people are more are revoked and none will be issued for 30 days.
City of Woodward facilities closed to the public during the emergency period will include Woodward Municipal Court, Woodward Police Department, Woodward Fire Department, Woodward Conference Center, Woodward Senior Center, Woodward Public Library, Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum, Crystal Beach Park sports facilities and City Hall.
According to the declaration restaurants and bars and other privately owned gathering places are "highly encouraged to ensure at least six feet of space, per CDC recommendations, is available to each person.
COVID-19 also headlined the Woodward City Commission meeting Monday evening as Commissioners work to put precautions into place before the virus hits Northwest Oklahoma.
Under new business, the Board gave Meinders the authority to make emergency declarations as needed. Some examples of possible declarations offered by City Manager Alan Riffel during the meeting included the possibility of suspending penalties and cut-offs regarding utility billing until the beginning of April.
The Board also approved a consent docket during the meeting.
The Woodward Municipal Authority approved a routine consent docket followed by a change order from True Solutions, LLC. The change order was requested for the Oak Avenue Stormwater Facility totaling over $40,000 for additional materials needed to complete the project.