City announces building closures Monday
Council to have closed meeting Tues.
March 11, 2020
Public buildings operated by the Green River city government will close until further notice in the latest response local officials have made to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. City Council meetings will occur behind closed doors, but will be broadcast and streamed until the risk of spreading the disease ends.
The announcement was made Monday evening, taking effect immediately.
“Even though we have not had a confirmed positive case here, we need to focus on slowing the transmission of COVID-19 and reducing the change of illness and death, while minimizing social and economic impacts,” a release from the city states.
While city buildings will be closed to the public, city employees will still work to ensure service remains uninterrupted. The city will remain open for business through its online payment portal and employees can be contacted by email or telephone. Any business needing to be conducted in person will be done by appointment only.
“No matter what, we’re still going to provide services,” City Administrator Reed Clevenger said Monday. “We don’t want to cause a panic.”
Clevenger said police and fire protection will not be impacted, as well as street work and sewer services.
Clevenger said the city is working with both the Sweetwater County and Rock Springs governments to roll out a common response amongst the three groups. He also said the city is also working with the school district and timed the closure of the Green River Recreation Center with closures to Green River’s schools because the center would not be able to handle the potential massive influx of children and teens being dropped off during the day. The center would have also become a potential epicenter to spread illness if it would have remained open.
“Bottom line, our job is to help flatten the curve,” Clevenger said.
The curve Clevenger mentions is the exponential rate at which diseases like the COVID-19 virus spreads. According to the Washington Post, the reason why experts want to limit infections and “flatten the curve” are due to concerns of disease infection rates doubling every three days, which would result in more than 100 million COVID-19 infections by May. The key strategy being proposed at the federal level, known as social distancing, is designed to limit exposure by limiting social interactions and opportunities for the virus to spread. Limiting its spread also limits the opportunity for viral infections occurring amongst populations more susceptible to severe illness, including senior citizens and those with compromised immune systems.
Aside from determining how the city will operate under the new guidelines proposed by federal and state agencies, Clevenger said the city has been actively fighting rumors that have sprouted up on social media. One rumor involves the permanent and sudden closure of the Smith’s store in Green River.
“Smith’s is not closing,” Clevenger said.
Council meeting still planned
The Green River City Council will meet Tuesday night, but will do so behind closed doors. The city is opting to stream the meeting online through Facebook and broadcast it on television through Channel 23. Residents wanting to comment on city issues that will be brought up are asked to submit their comments to firstname.lastname@example.org before 7 p.m. the date of each Council meeting.
Clevenger said informational presentations regularly given to the Council by groups such as the Green River Chamber of Commerce or Climb Wyoming, will be instead emailed to Council members, with formal presentations being cancelled until further notice.