This story was updated on April 8 to reflect that code enforcement officers will be calling businesses not considered essential.
At the Friendswood City Council meeting on April 6, City Manager Morad Kabiri spoke to the board about the city of Friendswood’s internal and external response to the coronavirus pandemic over the last month.
Kabiri said the city has been following its continuity of operations and pandemic plans in order to ensure vital services are able to continue. These services include responding to emergency calls and providing clean water, he said.
“We did close certain facilities, for instance the library was the first to shut down to the public and provide services through the drive-up window and online,” Kabiri said. “Except for tonight's meeting, City Hall has been closed to the public.”
The city has also enacted the use of personal protection equipment, or PPEs, for all first responders including the fire department, EMS and police officers.
“Currently, the Fire Marshal's office is working on securing some hotel resources for employees or first responders who aren’t able to isolate at home, if and when we have our first case,” Kabiri said.
Externally, Kabiri said the city has not declared a natural disaster or emergency because this situation is unlike any natural disaster the city has seen before. He said the city has been working in conjunction with state and county orders, but that some, if not large chunks, of the orders are not enforceable.
“We’ve taken a very deliberate approach to how we work with those in the public to be in compliance with those orders,” Kabiri said. “We’re encouraging social distancing with our police officers and parks and rec staff to the extent that we are not engaging the public.”
The city has also engaged code enforcement officers, Kabiri said.
“If there is a business continuing to operate that would not be considered essential under those orders, our code enforcement officers are making phone calls to encourage compliance but we are not going out anywhere and shutting down a business,” Kabiri said. “We're trying to work with folks, especially because you’ll find that despite not being mentioned as an essential service, there are some indirect services that are vital to the virus response.”