By Michael Hernandez
THOUSAND OAKS—The City Council on Tuesday ratified a Proclamation of the existence of a Local Emergency rendering certain emergency orders including the naming of City Manager Andrew Powers as Director of Emergency Services.
“We are dealing with unprecedented circumstances,” said City Manager Andrew Powers. “This is a unique crisis. We have 10 cases (in Ventura County) that have tested positive out of 193 tested.”
Ventura County Health Officer, Dr. Robert Levin, on Tuesday afternoon issued the following orders effective Wednesday, March 18th thru Wednesday, April 1st:
- Closure of all restaurants and food facilities for indoor eating;
- Closure of bars, nightclubs, that do not serve food;
- Closure of all movie theaters, gyms, fitness centers and aquatics centers; and
- Mandatory order for residents 75 years and older and 70 years and older with underlying health conditions to shelter at their place of residence until April 1st.
(Editor’s Note: For the latest from Ventura County go to: vcemergency.com.)
Meanwhile, the Thousand Oaks emergency proclamation allows the city to:
- pose mandates and directives that follow state and county law;
- authorizes the city to request mutual aid and reimbursement through the Federal Emergency Management Agency;
- procure goods and services during the emergency (such as water and beds);
- orders closure of all city facilities starting tomorrow (the county is doing likewise);
- authorizes the City Manager as Director of City Emergency Services with the power to enact regulations as needed; and
- establishes a temporary moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent due to income challenges based on covid19;
- enforces a municipal code provision outlawing no price gouging.
(Editor’s Note: For the latest from Thousand Oaks go to: toaks.org/covid19.)
“Stay in your home,” said City Manager Andrew Powers. “Contact a physician for guidance. Keep in mind that test kits are in high demand with little supply.” Powers also read statements released by both Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center and the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce as he recounted how Governor Gavin Newsom had declared a State of Emergency on March 4 and that a Ventura County Public Health Emergency was declared on March 12.
Powers stated that Thousand Oaks residents were already responding to the pandemic crisis through efforts such as: former Thousand Oaks Police Chief Tim Hagel distributing 200 sack lunches to children out of school through the Safe Passages program; the Thousand Oaks library giving books to young children; `high school and college students volunteering by the dozens to deliver meals to seniors; and the Ventura County Community Foundation establishing a Rapid Response Fund. (Editor’s Note: Go to vccf.org.)
“Let’s join our resources and help our neighbors and those most vulnerable,” said Mayor Al Adam. “We can weather this storm. We are Thousand Oaks strong.”
“The Woolsey Fire and the Borderline were incidents where we pulled together as a community” said Councilmember Bob Engler. “We have another opportunity to pull together as a community. Senior Concerns is interested in helping seniors who are sequestered at home. The Red Cross is helping children on meal programs at school. A lot of charities locally will find a place they can help with their time and energy.”
“I feel this crisis very keenly,” said Councilmember Ed Jones. “This is a silent slow killer we are dealing with.”
“We are caught in a war against a silent killer—a war that does not allow for direct social contact,” said Mayor Pro Tem Claudia Bill-de la Pena. “This is very different than anything we have experienced in the past. We need to protect our first responders on the frontlines, we need to pray, follow the rules and we will be able to get through this in the next few months.”
“Please remain calm. Keep informed. Take this seriously. We are asking for compliance. One way to slow the spread of this disease is through hygiene,” said Mayor Al Adam. “I wish everyone good health and we can get through this together and we will have a good outcome.”
The Thousand Oaks City Council meeting in which only the Mayor was present in the City Council chambers (other city council members connected by phone) was adjourned in just over one hour. The next meeting scheduled for March 31st is dependent on evolving circumstances.
Photo Credits: Michael Hernandez
Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].
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