Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

According to the latest update from Orange County Health Care Agency (OC Health), there have been a total of 29 coronavirus cases in the county.

Out of precautionary measures, Dana Point City Council held its Tuesday, March 17 meeting via teleconference. Mayor Richard Viczorek was the lone councilmember behind the dais while Mayor Pro Tem Jamey Federico and Councilmembers Debra Lewis, Joe Muller and Paul Wyatt called in and voted to approve a resolution to declare a local state of emergency.

Mayor Richard Viczorek was the only councilmember to sit behind the dais on Tuesday, March 17. All other councilmembers called in for a teleconference meeting. Photo: City of Dana Point Youtube

“There are two primary benefits under state and federal law to declaring a local emergency,” outgoing City Manager Mark Denny said. “There is state and federal emergency funding that comes with declaring a local state of emergency to reimburse governments in addressing these issues. And under state law, it allows for much quicker timelines in terms of procurement, should it be necessary.”

The regularly scheduled meeting came after the City of Dana Point issued its third update this month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today we are announcing a major shift in our City’s operations as we continue to implement mitigation measures in response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” the city update states. “Starting today, City Hall has closed all public counters and lobbies. The City leadership team and key staff will remain on-site, but some of our staff will be working from home to practice responsible social distancing.”

Denny was initially expected to receive special recognition for his service ahead of his departure to work for City of Fontana in April.

“When things get back to normal, we will have a presentation for you,” Viczorek said. “These are very trying times and it’s important to have strong leadership such as yourself. You have put together such a great succession plan for Mr. Killebrew to take over. We can assure the city that we’re not going to have any lack of leadership in the city in what we’re doing to address the COVID-19 virus.”

The current assistant city manager, Mike Killebrew, will succeed Denny’s position. Killebrew was scheduled to give a presentation on the mid-fiscal year 2019-2020 budget status report, however the item was continued for the next council meeting.

According to the city, staff is following guidance from federal, state and county authorities in addressing the pandemic.

“The situation is fluid, and information provided in this statement is subject to change,” the news release said.

Beginning Monday, the city implemented transitional changes to online and telephone services through the end of March, or “until further notice.”

Essential city services will continue, but in-person services at City Hall will be suspended. City Hall will transition to online services; residents and businesses are encouraged to call the city’s main line at 949.248.3500 or send an email to info@danapoint.org.

All services requiring in-person visits or public service counter assistance (including building permits) will be suspended or made available via phone, online or through email. Building inspection services, however, will continue. All public works services will remain in place with the exception of in-person permit submissions or parking permit requests, which can be made online at publicworks@danapoint.org.

Refuse collection, routine street maintenance and street sweeping will continue per the usual schedule.

While the lobby of Dana Point Police Services is closed, the blue phone outside of the door is operational and can be used to access Police Services. Call 949.770.6011 for non-emergency police assistance and 911 for emergency assistance.

The city council meeting scheduled for April 7 will be canceled or conducted by teleconference.

“Electronic comments are encouraged,” the update states. “Commission meetings will either be suspended or conducted by teleconference at least through April, or until further notice. Written comments may also be submitted by email to kward@danapoint.org.”

The San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter will be limiting its in-person services, beginning today.  The shelter’s office will be closed to the public, but sheltering services will be available. Schedule an appointment by phone at 949.492.1617. Animal Control Officers will continue to accommodate the most emergent health and public safety issues in the community.

For more information, the OC Public Health Care Agency COVID-19 Health Referral Hotline is 1.800.564.8448.

AlertOC is a mass notification system designed to keep Orange County residents and businesses informed of emergencies that may require immediate lifesaving actions.

Sign up for AlertOC by clicking here. For more information from the California Department of Public Health, visit cdph.ca.gov/covid19.

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