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COVID-19 Updates

Posted on: March 30, 2020

City of Willits Updates on City Business and the COVID-19 Crisis

The City of Willits proclaimed the issuance of a local state of emergency on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 in an effort to continue to respond against the potential spread of the novel corona virus (COVID-19). All residents should be adhering to the County’s Shelter in Place Order. Only essential businesses should be open to the public.

As of today, there were four positive tests in Mendocino County. All of these were a result of travel and not from community spread. These individuals were appropriately quarantined and maintained all health protocols to prevent community spread. The locations of these individuals cannot be disclosed due to privacy protections.

ALL City facilities and departments remain closed to the public, although staff is working, either from home or isolated, as much as practicable. These closures include City Hall, the Skate Park, the Dog Park, and the Community Center. Please see the 3/30/2020 Press Release for the Willits Police Department outlining new protocols during these challenging times.

We encourage people to use our website and dropbox, as well as the U.S. Mail to make payments and to access services. Our Code Enforcement office will be prioritizing issues regarding life and safety. If you have to make any contact with any of our staff, please adhere to social distancing standards (6 feet). We continue to update our website: https://cityofwillits.org/. You can reach us by phone: (707) 459-4601. Phone calls and emails will not be answered on Fridays or weekends.  If you have an emergency call 911. Our dispatch center is operational 24/7.

The airport is still open, however it is only open for those who need to stop their plane for fuel.  The airport is not allowing overnight camping or providing off-site transportation, and anyone using the fuel pumps or tie downs for mooring are ordered to practice social distancing at all times.

The City worked with the Farmers Market to allow them to move outside, as outside sales better comport with the terms of the County’s “Shelter in Place” Order. The Farmers Market manager worked with a local business in order to have more space to operate so that appropriate social distancing can be observed.

For those experiencing or witnessing family violence, Operation Sanctuary can help. Although the office is not open to the public, staff is answering their phones and can help. Call the hotline at  (707) 463-HELP / (707) 463-4357.

The County currently has some resources available to assist “at risk” homeless individuals. If you see or know of a homeless person who is sick or is “at risk”, meaning over 65 or who have chronic health issues, please call the County’s hotline/call center at (707) 234-6052. The County may be able to provide temporary housing for these individuals and can also arrange for testing and quarantine, if needed.

The Governor recently ordered a forbearance or “stay” of residential evictions for non-payment of rent for 60 days. There are, however, strict standards in place requiring the tenant give timely notice to their landlord (within 7 days of rent being due) and requiring verifiable documentation that their failure to pay all or a portion of their rent is due to the COVID-19 crisis. The order does not relieve a tenant from the duty of paying rent in a timely manner if a tenant is able to pay all or some of their rent.  It also does not relieve a tenant of liability for unpaid rent.  

For businesses and business owners struggling with the effects of the COVID-19 crisis or who simply need information, the West Small Business Development Center has put together an excellent section on their website listing many resources for assistance: https://www.mendosbdc.org/covid-19. You can also call the West Company at (707) 964-7571.

In clarification, the County of Sonoma recently published a map of positive tests for COVID-19.  In an effort to note that Mendocino County had cases, they indicated a red dot in the center of Mendocino County, simply indicating that the case(s) were within the County. Unfortunately, that dot appeared to be in Brooktrails, according to their map. We would like to assure the public that there are no known cases in Brooktrails or Willits at this time. Sonoma County was asked to clarify this on their future maps.

The City of Willits strongly advises that all community members follow the orders and directives of Mendocino County’s Public Health Officer. The “Shelter In Place” Order from the County is enforceable by the sheriff’s department and local law enforcement. On March 31, the Board of Supervisors will be deciding on change to their code to also allow their code enforcement officer to enforce orders of the Public Health Official. The County’s orders are available on their website at: https://ww.mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus. If you have questions regarding whether a business should be open or if you would like to report a non-compliant business, please call the County hotline (707) 234-6052.

Stephanie Garrabrant-Sierra, City Manager
City of Willits
111 E. Commercial Ave.
Willits, CA 95490
(707) 459-4601

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