Spanish Fork Mayor Steve Leifson made an emergency declaration on Tuesday, which includes a prohibition on out-of-state work-related travel for city employees, that will be in place until the threat of the coronavirus has passed.

The Spanish Fork City Council voted unanimously in support of the emergency declaration, which went into effect immediately after the vote.

The emergency declaration put into place “self-quarantine regulations” that all city employees are required to follow.

If a city employee has been in “close contact” with an individual who has a confirmed diagnosis for COVID-19 or “has traveled outside of the country or within the country in an area known to have a high concentration of individuals that have tested positive for COVID-19,” they are ordered to self-quarantine for 14 days “before physically returning to work.”

The emergency declaration restricts work-related travel, stating that “all out-of-state work-related travel is prohibited” and that any “in-state travel must be pre-approved through the department director and human resources.”

Additionally, any employee “who engages in out-of-state personal travel will be required to contact their department director and human resources before returning to work.”

During Tuesday’s city council meeting, Scott Aylett, Spanish Fork’s public information officer, responded to resident’s questions posted to social media regarding COVID-19.

One person asked whether Spanish Fork expected a complete shutdown of the city to prevent coronavirus from spreading.

“We will continue to take direction from the Utah State Health Department, as well as the Utah County Health Department and the COVID task force that was set up by Gov. Herbert,” Aylett said. “So we don’t necessarily anticipate a complete shutdown of the city at this point, but again we’ll continue to monitor the situation as we go along.”

In the case of a shutdown of city services, Aylett said the city would use social media and the city website to communicate with residents, as well as an emergency notification system called Everbridge “where you can get an email, phone call or a text message with emergency updates.”

“So certainly if it got to the point where there were emergency type notifications that needed to go out, we could reach the vast majority of the city using one of those tools,” he said.

Aylett said Spanish Fork Library drop boxes would remain open, adding that the library had suspended all late fees for books or other checked out items.

As a safety measure, Aylett said books returned to the library are being put in a “certain type of quarantine” where they are set aside for two or three days, cleaned and then put back in circulation.

The public information officer recommended that residents reach out to their employers for guidelines on remaining safe at work, and that all residents should “certainly follow the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines that are out there in terms of social distancing and washing your hands and not touching your face.”

What about residents who aren’t able to pay their utility bills?

Leifson said residents who have been laid off, aren’t receiving their paychecks or otherwise can’t pay their utility bill should call the city utility staff, who will “work something out with you to make sure that we can get you taken (care of) through this period of time.”

“We want everybody to be taken care of,” the mayor said.

On Tuesday, the Utah County Health Department confirmed the county’s first resident case of COVID-19.

Connor Richards covers government, the environment and south Utah County for the Daily Herald. He can be reached at crichards@heraldextra.com and 801-344-2599.

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