CORONAVIRUS

Iowa City declares civil emergency

People walk by the Iowa City City Hall which includes the Police Department in Iowa City on Wednesday, November 5, 2014.
People walk by the Iowa City City Hall which includes the Police Department in Iowa City on Wednesday, November 5, 2014. (The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague declared a civil emergency Wednesday in response to COVID-19.

The declaration gives Teague “additional measures to maintain health, welfare and safety within the community,” according to City Manager Geoff Fruin.

As of 7 p.m. Wednesday, 21 of Iowa’s 38 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were in Johnson County.

Among the immediate measures being taken in Iowa CIty are granting Iowa City police the ability to cite or arrest anyone who violates Gov. Kim Reynolds’ state of emergency orders: the closing of bars, restaurants, theaters and other event spaces; and the banning of all social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure and sporting gatherings of more than 10 people.

Fruin also has been granted “the power to purchase or lease goods and services to help further the response to COVID-19 without the city’s standard competitive procurement procedure.”

The Iowa City Police Department also said in a social media post it will be changing its procedures for responding to calls for service.

“To lessen the risk of exposure, when possible, we will be taking reports over the phone,” the police department said.

Police said officers are practicing social distancing and frequently cleaning their equipment, vehicles and police headquarters to lower the risk of exposure.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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