City declared state of emergency by mayor

City+declared+state+of+emergency+by+mayor

BROOKLYNN HILLEMANN, Evergreen reporter

Mayor Glenn Johnson declared a State of Emergency for the City of Pullman as the COVID-19 virus continues to spread. 

According to a press release issued by Pullman Police Department, the emergency declaration describes potential future assistance in regards to COVID-19.

Gary Jenkins, Pullman Police Chief, said the declaration will allow the police department to use expedited purchasing rules. This means if there are supplies needed to respond to issues related to COVID-19, the department can access regional and state resources faster. 

“We can cut through some of the red tape much more quickly to address issues,” he said.

Jenkins said if Gov. Jay Inslee declares a disaster in Whitman County, the declaration allows local businesses to apply for small business loans through the Small Business Administration if the business might suffer financially because of the virus. 

“We wanted to move forward to show support for the businesses,” Jenkins said. 

As of now, Inslee has not declared Whitman County a disaster. 

Jenkins said the city decided to issue the emergency declaration after WSU announced that classes will switch to an online format following spring break. 

He said the City of Pullman has opened an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to monitor information and resources. The center is based in the police department. 

Jenkins said the EOC is managing emergency-related information. There are currently no resources being managed. 

He said the EOC may need to manage people, equipment and supplies as COVID-19 develops.

Jenkins said the city declared the state of emergency as a precaution. The city and police department want to ensure they have access to the resources needed to combat issues related to the pandemic. 

“I don’t believe there’s any reason for anyone to panic,” he said. 

The city’s declaration was issued one day after Inslee issued an emergency proclamation that limits large events. 

Inslee announced at a Wednesday news conference that events with more than 250 attendees are prohibited in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. 

According to the proclamation, this includes community events, faith-based gatherings, sporting events, concerts and festivals.