Thursday, May 06, 2021

Othello mayor rescinds emergency power proclamation

Staff Writer | April 28, 2021 1:05 AM

OTHELLO — Othello Mayor Shawn Logan rescinded on Monday a declaration of civil emergency signed in March 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, as it was no longer needed, and he never used the power it gave him.

Logan read and signed the proclamation rescinding emergency power during the Othello City Council meeting. Council members, who granted the emergency power ordinance, had no comment.

“I don’t think the emergency really exists any more,” Logan said Monday afternoon. “We don’t need to keep this civil emergency enacted.”

The coronavirus was unknown when the pandemic began, Logan said, and the kind of response that might be required from local governments was not clear.

Under the emergency powers, through a city ordinance, the mayor had the power to close businesses and public places. The mayor also could prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages, firearms and flammable liquids, as well as establish a curfew.

City officials also had the ability to “enter into contracts and incur obligations” to combat the emergency without going through the normal bid and approval processes.

Now people know more about the virus and there’s a vaccine, Logan said. He called it a “logical conclusion” the emergency had passed.

About 20% of the state’s residents have been vaccinated, he said, and another 22% are 14 years of age and younger, and therefore less susceptible to the virus, or to spreading it. The vaccine is available for all Washington residents 16 years of age and older. And, vaccines are becoming increasingly available, and are being administered not only in hospitals and clinics, but in retail pharmacies, Logan said.