County Mayor Gary Cordell has declared a state of emergency in Coffee County amid concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.
In making the proclamation, Cordell pointed to the peril presented by the spread of the virus and the need for social distancing to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The proclamation, printed in its entirety below, cuts through some governmental red-tape when it comes to areas like entering into contracts, employing permanent and temporary workers and taking necessary measures to perform public work in the best interest of the health and welfare of the public.
The proclamation issued by Cordell this past week reads:
WHEREAS, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (CO VID- 19) is a respiratory disease caused by the SARSCo V-2 virus that can result in mild or severe symptoms, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, and can lead to serious illness or death, particularly in the case of older adults and persons with serious chronic medical conditions;
WHEREAS, CO VID- 1 9 is frequently spread through close contact between persons and respiratory transmission; and
WHEREAS, COVID-19 was first reported in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, and traced back to a patient in November 2019 and has since spread throughout the world; and
WHEREAS, on March 4, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 in the State of Tennessee was identified, and several additional confirmed or presumptively positive cases of COVID-19 have since been identified in Tennessee; and
WHEREAS, the spread and identification of additional cases of COVID-19 in Tennessee is likely to continue, and therefore, taking proactive steps to prevent a substantial risk to public health and safety is paramount; and
WHEREAS, on March 12, 2020, pursuant to the authority granted by Tenn. Code Ann.§ 58-2-107, the Governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, issued Executive Order No. 14, declaring a state of emergency to facilitate the response to COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, declared a national state of emergency with respect to CO VID-19; and
WHEREAS, the Mutual Aid and Emergency and Disaster Assistance Agreement Act of 2004, Tenn. Code Ann.§§ 58-8-101 et seq., authorizes the mayor to declare a local state of emergency affecting such official' s jurisdiction by executive order consistent and in accordance with Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 58-21 10(3)(A)(v); and
WHEREAS, Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 58-2-1 IO (3) (A) (v), among other things, authorizes the County, upon the mayor's declaration of a local state of emergency to waive certain procedures and formalities otherwise required of the County by law; and
WHEREAS, the proclamation of a local state of emergency may entitle the County to cost reimbursement as provided in Tenn. Code Ann. § 58-8-1 1; and
WHEREAS, both federal and state health officials have determined and advised that extraordinary and immediate measures must be taken to respond quickly to COVID-1 9, to prevent community spread, and to alleviate the suffering of people exposed to and those infected with the virus, as well as those that could potentially be infected or affected by COVID-19; and
WHEREAS, it is necessary and appropriate to exercise the authority granted by Tenn. Code Ann. 10 and 38-9-103.
NOW THEREFORE, I, Gary Cordell, the Mayor of the Coffee County, in the interest of public safety and welfare do herein declare pursuant to the statutes of the State of Tennessee and local ordinances/ resolutions of Coffee County that a state of emergency exists.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that, due to the existence of this situation, the Coffee County Emergency Operations Plan and all appendixes be placed into effect to coordinate and facilitate an effective response to and recovery from this emergency/ disaster situation.
Section 1. All procedures and formalities otherwise required under Coffee County Resolutions or Tennessee law pertaining to the following are hereby waived:
a. Performance of public work and taking whatever prudent action is necessary to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of the community.
b. Entering into contracts;
c. Incurring obligations;
d. Employment of permanent and temporary workers;
e. Utilization of volunteer workers;
f. Rental of equipment;
g. Acquisition and distribution, with or without compensation, of supplies, materials, and facilities; and
h. Appropriation and expenditure of public funds.
Section 2. Notice of this Proclamation will be promptly communicated to all members of the Coffee County Commission, Tullahoma City Council and Manchester City Council.
Section 3. This Declaration is valid and effective immediately for a period not to exceed seven days and may be incrementally extended as deemed necessary.