By Mark Schwager
The views expressed below are my own and are not an official communication from the Town Council or Town of East Greenwich.
On Monday, March 16, the East Greenwich Town Council met in an emergency session in direct response to the complex, ever-changing challenges caused by the COVID 19 pandemic.
This action was guided by one overriding consideration: to do whatever is within the Town Council’s power to protect the health, welfare and safety of our community from a challenge that requires an urgent response.
At the emergency meeting the Council unanimously adopted a declaration of a state of emergency. The Governor has urged all Rhode Island municipalities to take this action in response to the COVID-19 threat.
The declaration grants our Town Manager, Andrew Nota, temporary authority to act independently from the Town Council on matters that must be implemented swiftly for the benefit of the health and welfare of our town. The Town Manager will keep the community and the Town Council apprised of all actions taken, but he will not require the direct consent of the Town Council to act. This approach is consistent with efforts at all levels of government in the United States to remove barriers to action in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
I am mindful of the reality that many of the actions being implemented locally and nationally represent a hardship to families and businesses in East Greenwich. This step has not been taken lightly and I hope by taking these actions we can reduce the health risk to our community.
Find the Town Council’s State of Emergency declaration here: Declaration of State of Emergency. You can follow all the steps the town is taking on the town’s website HERE, a document that will be routinely updated.
Mark Schwager is president of the East Greenwich Town Council.