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STATE OF EMERGENCY IN SHAFTER

Schools closed; limits places on city services

 

March 12, 2020

Jamie Stewart | The Shafter Press

Mayor Gilbert Alvarado opens Tuesday's special meeting of the City Council.

In a special meeting held on Tuesday night, the Shafter City Council unanimously ratified a declaration of a local state of emergency as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The action's main goals, according to new City Manager Gabriel Gonzalez, are to allow him, in the position he began just that day, to activate and direct the efforts of the city's emergency response and to coordinate efforts with other agencies and partners with responsibilities for the health and safety of the city's residents. It also allows the city to be eligible for reimbursements if the city has to use its finances or resources during this critical time.

Under the resolution, the city is modifying services to protect the health and safety of their employees as well as the residents.

Effective Wednesday, March 18, until April 14, all city offices which have direct contact with the public will be closed to the public or limited to visits by appointment for essential services.

The city also will be discontinuing all Dial-A-Ride services. The city manager department lobby, finance customer service windows, Shafter Learning Center and Shafter Animal Control will all be closed to the public. Animal adoptions will be temporarily suspended.

The Police Department lobby will be open to provide limited services on a reduced schedule. City employees will continue to provide service to the public via phone or email when possible or by appointment if deemed necessary.

Residents may contact the city by phone. They welcome the public to visit their website (shafter.com) to find the phone number for the appropriate department for additional information on the status of specific services by department.

The city is continuing to seek guidance from the Kern County Public Health as the lead agency for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Residents are also encouraged to follow recommended hygiene practices, including good handwashing, social distancing and self-isolation if you feel ill.

The Police Department will still be responding to all calls from residents. They will be taking initial reports over the phone, but, according to Chief Kevin Zimmermann, if they deem it necessary, they will come to contact the caller in person. Every call will still be priority and will be investigated.

Hours and days will be limited for some services. For instance, LiveScan, fingerprinting services, and concealed weapon permit applications are temporarily suspended. Requests for copies of crime reports will be filled on Tuesdays and Thursdays only during the hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Impounded vehicle releases and repossessions will be handled on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well, during regular business hours, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

All registrant requirements will continue as required. Animal Control will be closed to the public.

All parks will continue to be open to the public. Residents with questions may contact the city at 661-746-5000.

 

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