The Mt. Juliet city commission held a special called meeting Monday night in order to approve a resolution declaring the city of Mt. Juliet a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus COVID-19.
“The COVID-19 crisis has escalated, requiring the need for action from this board,” said Mt. Juliet Mayor Ed Hagerty. Declaring a state of emergency is an important step to ensure the health and well-being, now and in the future, for the citizens of Mt. Juliet.
COVID-19 is a respiratory disease that can cause mild to severe illness. The most severe cases have occurred in older adults, but the virus can affect people of any age. Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath and may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
Commissioner Ray Justice said that with the Mt. Juliet’s proximity to Nashville the city is taking precautions to protect its citizens. According to the Tennessee Department of Health, as of March 24 there are over 180 cases in Davidson County and seven in Wilson County.
“While we are here tonight to declare a state of emergency, we want to emphasize that this does not or should not constitute a state of panic,” said Justice.
Justice emphasized following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines to limit the spread and potential infection of the virus.
The CDC has said that the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed. As the virus is mainly spread from personal contact, they recommend social distancing, or not being within 6 feet of one another.
Cleaning your hands often is another way to help stop the spread of the virus. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in a public space. If soap and water is not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov.
The City of Mt. Juliet also support guidelines that say people should work from home where possible, limit gatherings to 10 people or fewer, and restaurants should eliminate dine-in meals. Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee issued an executive order over the weekend that prohibits dine-in at restaurants and allows only drive-thru, carryout and delivery. It also closed all gyms and exercise facilities and limits visitation nursing home and related facilities to essential care only.
By declaring the state of emergency, the board allows the mayor and/or city manager to take further action, as needed, without convening a meeting of the city commission.
“We are all in this together,” said Hagerty. “With cooperation from all, we will emerge stronger and better than ever.”