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Nome Set To Declare Local Emergency Over COVID-19, More Entities Shut Doors

Double doors with a small placard reading "Council Chambers."

Tonight the Nome Common Council will decide whether to declare a local emergency, which would also allow the City Manager to, “take necessary actions to reduce the impact and spread of COVID-19 throughout the City of Nome.” The special meeting will be held at 5pm at Old Saint Joes.

It is unclear what specific actions are being considered by the City at this point in time. The emergency declaration is the only item on the agenda.

During a meeting of Local Emergency Planning Commission (LEPC) yesterday, Charlene Saclamana of Kawerak stated that the tribal-nonprofit was also considering asking Governor Mike Dunleavy to declare a state of emergency in Nome and the Bering Strait region.

Kawerak is the latest entity to close its doors to the public. Starting today non-employees will not be allowed to visit Kawerak offices in Nome. Anvil Mountain Correctional Center has already suspended public visitation until further notice. The Nome courthouse has announced all court hearings will be conducted telephonically in order to avoid physical contact.

As of Sunday evening, the Nome Boys and Girls Club also chose to shut its doors. According to an announcement from the organization they will provide more details about how they might continue some services, like giving meals to the youth they serve.

In a similar fashion, Nome Public Schools has followed the directive of the state and extended their spring break for an extra week. Jamie Burgess said during yesterday’s LEPC meeting the school district will still be delivering meals for their students during the second week (March 23rd) of the prolonged break.

The Nome LEPC’s Unified Command, a collective of several local organizations and leaders, recommends social distancing and staying home if you are sick, to avoid spreading COVID-19. If you live in a rural area, they also encourage residents to limit non-essential travel in order to protect the community.

Besides most of Nome’s city facilities already being closed to the public, additional closures or measures are expected to be announced during tonight’s special meeting of the City Council.

Image at top: The entrance to the Nome City Council chambers. Photo: Emily Hofstaedter, KNOM.

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