Mayor Chaz Molder and City Manager Tony Massey issued an executive order that formally declares a State of Emergency for the City of Columbia. This order follows a Declaration of Emergency by the President of the United States and also the Governor of Tennessee. Following Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s Executive Order No. 17, The City of Columbia will adhere to recommendations and mandates handed down by the Governor.
The purpose of this local declaration of emergency is multi-faceted:
• It authorizes the City Manager to move forward with certain emergency management functions and authorizes the City Manager to request and respond to requests of aid from other jurisdictions when necessary.
• It suspends various procedures and formalities otherwise required under our local and state laws as it pertains to taking necessary action to ensure the health, safety and welfare of our community.
• The city manager is hereby authorized to enter into contracts and incur obligations, as necessary, to employ permanent and temporary employees as warranted, and otherwise appropriate and expend public funds as deemed appropriate.
• This Order is the most aggressive approach our city is legally authorized to take with respect to certain aspects of business-related regulations, and memorializes the Governor’s Executive Order No. 17 signed on March 22, 2020.
Executive Order No. 17 prohibits social gatherings of 10 or more individuals and also enacts the following provisions regarding restaurants, bars and any food or drink establishment. Effective midnight, March 23, 2020 until April 6, 2020:
• Social gatherings of 10 or more people are now prohibited;
• All dine-in restaurant offerings are prohibited, however, drive-thru, take-out and delivery options remain in place, and this includes food and alcohol;
• All gyms and exercise facilities are hereby temporarily closed. If you are questioning whether your facility qualifies as a gym or exercise facility, operate on the assumption that it does;
• All visits to nursing homes and assisted living facilities are prohibited, and Maury Regional Health facilities are closed to visitors, as announced late last week;
• All city sanctioned meetings and mass gatherings in the city of Columbia are canceled through the end of April 2020. At this time, we are working through the recent guidance regarding our options to meet as a city council for our April meeting;
• This Order urges our citizens to practice the guidelines set forth by the CDC including social distancing, proper hygiene, staying at home and quarantining if sick; and otherwise exercising common sense during a moment of crisis.
The City of Columbia continues to operate, while City Manager Tony Massey continues to serve as the chief executive under our form of government. “With the Governor’s Order and also the Mayor’s Executive Order today, the restaurants can only currently offer takeout or delivery options. We are relaxing our downtown parking enforcement and encourage restaurants to designate take-out parking spots in front of their businesses indefinitely at this time,” said City Manager Tony Massey.
“I would much rather be judged years from now by the fact that we overreacted in a time of crisis, rather than an underreaction. At this moment, we can’t risk an underreaction because lives are at stake. I am honored to be your Mayor in the good times and in turbulent times. And, with your help, we will return to the good times in Columbia. Our best days are ahead, I am as sure of that today as ever before,” said Mayor Chaz Molder.