The Manteca City Council when they meet tonight are expected to extend the COVID-19 emergency as they have done every 14 days since first declaring it on April 7, 2020.
More than 200 Manteca residents have died after coming down with COVID-19.
Tuesday’s extension — a must not to jeopardize state funding distributed to deal with the pandemic — could either be the last, or next to the last, one.
That’s because Gov. Gavin Newsom has made it clear he’s ending the statewide COVID emergency he declared on March 20, 2020.
Since then, 113,000 Californians have died as result of becoming ill with COVOID. That’s the equivalent combined population of Manteca, Ripon, and Escalon.
The state last week announced it was no longer going to execute Newsom’s directive made over 18 months ago that when July 1, 2023 rolled around, all students in the state would need to be vaccinated against COVID in order to attend school.
Newsom was the only governor in the country to issue such an order that was predicated on the FDA certifying a vaccine that was safe for children 16 years old and under.
There were several times when council members wanted to not extend the local emergency.
If they did, though, the state made it clear they would lose any possible funding to reimburse the city for extraordinary expenses incurred during the pandemic.
Earlier on Manteca was hit hard by the pandemic when a number of firefighters became ill. That triggered additional overtime shifts for other firefighters — costs COVID relief funds would end up covering.
The emergency allowed the city to help businesses stay open during the pandemic. That help ran the gamut from signage required by the state advising social distancing and masks as well as loans that didn’t have to be repaid if used for the propose of helping keep the business from going under and laying off employees due to a slowdown in economic activity from orders to minimize interaction in public places with others.
The pressure the city applied to enforce the face mask rules and to make sure non-essential businesses weren’t open during the early days of the pandemic, did not sit well with many.
The city, though, never had to issue citations or make arrests to get reported violators to comply with the emergency rules.
By city ordinance governing emergency declarations requires it to be revisited every 14 days to determine whether it should be continued.
By continuing the emergency, the city became eligible for $13.7 million in pass through federal COVID relief funds that Sacramento distributed.
That money covered:
*A drop in municipal sales tax receipts during closures that cut into revenues needed for day-to-day operations.
*Costs connected with opening an emergency operations center.
*Hazard pay for all essential city workers that continued to report to work when there were no vaccines available.
Cities and counties that received the COVID relief funds have been allowed to use what wasn’t needed to back fill pandemic damaged budgets and directly deal with the pandemic for investment in infrastructure and such.
That was seen as a way by Congress to help communities get an economic shot in the arm to recover from the government-ordered pandemic shutdowns.
The COVID pandemic hit Manteca almost 102 years after an earlier council declared a local emergency to deal with the flu epidemic of 1918.
That emergency ended locally the following year.
The City Council meets tonight at 7 p.m. at the Civic Center council chambers, 1001 W. Center St.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org.