In a step toward normalcy, Blaine City Council unanimously voted to rescind the proclamation of emergency, first enacted in March 2020 to help the city manage pandemic response. The recission takes effect Friday, July 23.
As Covid-19 numbers ebbed in the spring, the city began changing its temporary policies such as not having city buildings open to the public. But other things that stayed, like the use of downtown plazas through a park special use permit and businesses’ ability to create temporary structures on sidewalk space through a resolution that waives certain parts of Blaine Municipal Code, will now be rescinded.
“Paso del Norte had a structure, creating an enclosure over their outdoor dining area,” Blaine city manager Michael Jones told councilmembers before council rescinded the proclamation during the July 12 meeting. “That is now gone because it’s summertime and they don’t feel like they need it but something like that would have been illegal and was allowed because of the emergency situation and the resolution.”
The city will rescind 11 land-use development permits, along with suspended expiration dates and six-month extensions on several permits from community development services department, according to a memo from the city manager to councilmembers.
“It was a new process. A lot of people were feeling uncomfortable about how things were going, doing business,” Jones said. “We were all getting used to doing an electronic process and we were all getting used to doing Zoom. But now people have had plenty of time to work through those processes.”
The city’s temporary policy for donated leave and pandemic sick leave will also be rescinded.
Along with many local and state governments across the country, Jones declared a proclamation of emergency March 13, 2020 to respond to a rapidly evolving situation as Covid-19 began shutdowns. City council ratified the city manager’s emergency order during a special council meeting March 16.
“I want to thank everybody in the city, from Michael Jones down to the guy they hired yesterday who’s putting the shovel in the ground. So many people took extra time off work for furloughs, so many people were knocking on doors of businesses and trying to tell them what they could do,” councilmember Eric Davidson said during the meeting. “This is a good time, with this proclamation ending, to say how neat that was to see all that positive stuff happen in this town during a really terrible time.”