Newport City Councilors voted 7-0 on Monday afternoon to extend the State of Emergency in the City for another 30 days.
Councilors Bova, McLaughlin, McCalla, Napolitano, Taylor, Leonard, and Ceglie voted in favor to extend the State of Emergency in the City.
The meeting was held remotely in compliance with Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Executive Order 20-04-1. (b), which allows public meetings to take place while providing public access through telephone, internet, or satellite enabled audio or video conferencing.
“As the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold on the national, state, and local levels, it is necessary to extend the City Manager’s emergency power in connection therewith for an additional thirty (30 days)” the communication form the City Manager states in his request for City Council Action. Council can revoke this power at any time during this period.
Nicholson says the city is relying on Newport Police Department to enforce social distancing and other orders and directives. “My generalized observation is that people are respecting this”, Nicholson said on the call regarding the social distancing mandates.
City Council members and Nicholson spoke about how busy the Cliff Walk and First Beach has been. There was a discussion about future plans to close the beach and other public parks if needed. No decisions has been made at this time and those areas are still open to the public, but City Manager does have plans if needed to close or patrol those areas.
Equipment in playgrounds are now closed to the public.
City Manager and Council asks all those visiting parks, the Cliff Walk, and Easton’s Beach to follow CDC guidelines – six-feet of social distancing.
Joe Nicholson, Newport City Manager, by virtue of the authority as Chief Executive Officer of the City of Newport, issued the original Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency on March 15th.
Its intent is to provide the City with more flexibility to manage day-to-day operations in light of the evolving nature of the situation. The most visible implication of the declaration involves public meetings,” a press release from the City stated at that time.
On March 15th, the City announced that City Hall would remain open for business, operating under normal hours. Since then and in-light of current concerns related to the COVID-19 outbreak, all City Offices have closed to the public beginning today (Monday, March 23).
As of Monday afternoon, Rhode Island had 106 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19.