AUGUSTA-AIKEN (WJBF) – Both Mayor Hardie Davis of Augusta and Mayor Rick Osbon of Aiken have issued a state of emergency for their cities.
In Augusta, that means public access to all city buildings is suspended effective immediately.
“Today we assemble in what is clearly unprecedented times for the City of Augusta,” said Mayor Davis.
Much of Augusta is getting shut down. All government buildings, recreation centers, and senior centers will be closed to the public until April 1st due to the threat of the novel coronavirus.
Mayor Davis said, “All travel for the City of Augusta employees is hereby restricted. Nothing slows the spread of COVID-19 as effectively as social isolation.
In declaring a state of emergency, Garden City leaders also made a plan to limit the number of employees coming in to work.
Mayor Davis urged, “Please know that core city services will continue. Services such as trash pick up, police and fire services will not be reduced.”
You can no longer pay bills in person to the city but the good news is Mayor Davis has issued a 60-day moratorium for evictions and outstanding bills owed to the city. Mayor Davis said they are monitoring the COVID-19 threat very closely and he is thankful that his city is home to many high-quality medical professionals.
“It’s impacting businesses in a way we never thought would happen in our community but out of an abundance of caution we’re urging our businesses and partners to comply with the guidelines that come from the federal government,” said Mayor Davis.
In Aiken, Mayor Rick Osbon is also urging people to socially distance themselves. He has announced a state of emergency for his city as well. The emergency was ratified by the Aiken City Council on March 16.
“We’re telling people the same thing CDC has told us all along. Smaller groups, obviously as it’s coming down from DHEC and from the Governor’s office but we’re not overstepping powers. It really has to do with empowering our staff,” said Mayor Osbon.
Like Augusta, many events in Aiken have been canceled or postponed. City-owned facilities are closed.
Mayor Osbon added, “Open air parks are still open. We’re not policing that. We’re just asking people to be cautious because we’ve seen other cities. We’ve other countries and we know what the results can be. We want to avoid that.”
City government managers are working with employees on a plan for at home-work.
To see Mayor Davis’ full press conference, click or tap here.