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WARRENSBURG — The City Council voted Monday, March 23, to approve the ratifying of the state of emergency declaration for COVID-19 that City Manager Harold Stewart declared Tuesday, March 17.

The council took social-distancing precautions during the meeting with council members and essential city staff sitting every other chair, spaced out in the council chambers.

“Given that we are a council-manager form of government, the council, through city code, has authorized me as city manager to declare a state of emergency,” Stewart said. “However, it does have a time limit of 21 days and I have no ability to extend that. Given the declarations from the president of the United States and the governor, we do anticipate this going longer than 21 days. In consultation with legal counsel it was decided that having council ratify that and then leave that open-ended until the council takes action to cease the state of emergency would be the best course of action.”

The state of emergency will remain in place until it is ended by a vote by the council.

“I suspect we’ll have several meetings before we are able to close that,” Mayor Casey Lund said.

The state of emergency declaration follows declarations for the State of Missouri by Gov. Mike Parson on March 13 and for Johnson County by the Johnson County Commissioners on March 16.

The declaration states that “the spread of COVID-19 constitutes a natural calamity and presents an imminent threat of widespread illness which could overwhelm local health care resource, increasing the risk of death in the community, which requires emergency action” and “the proclamation of a state of emergency provides the city the ability to take measures to reduce the possibility of exposure to disease, control the risk and promote the health and safety of Warrensburg residents.”

Staff Writer Sara Lawson can be reached by emailing sara.lawson@dsjnow.com or by calling (660) 747-8123.

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