Thursday, April 2, 2020

East Lansing City Council extends local state of emergency to April 6

March 20, 2020
<p>Newly elected city council members including Mayor Pro Tem Aaron Stephens (left), Lisa Babcock and Jessy Gregg during the East Lansing City Council meeting at the East Lansing City Offices on Nov. 12, 2019.</p>

Newly elected city council members including Mayor Pro Tem Aaron Stephens (left), Lisa Babcock and Jessy Gregg during the East Lansing City Council meeting at the East Lansing City Offices on Nov. 12, 2019.

Photo by Connor Desilets | The State News

East Lansing City Council held a special meeting at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center on Friday to consider an extension of the mayor’s local state of emergency. 

All members of the council approved an extension of the local state of emergency to April 6 and any other extensions as determined by the mayor to April 30.

“If you live in East Lansing, stay in your houses, okay? Go out to order food for takeout, go out for walks, but do not congregate in groups,” Mayor Ruth Beier said. “I’m concerned that if we don’t do that, we have to take stricter measures in the future and I think voluntary confinement as much as possible is the safest option.”

As of yesterday, Council Member Mark Meadows said, legislation has been signed waiving all fees for coronavirus testing. The only charges, he said, would be associated with continued treatment.

During the meeting, council members expressed the need for community residents to support downtown merchants and local businesses.

“The business problems are city-wide and regional, and we’re also coming up on — probably in about a week — we’re going to have thousands of service workers who have missed a paycheck because they’ve been cut loose,” Council Member Jessy Gregg said. “I am just slightly concerned that as a community we’re going to be suffering from compassion burnout and it’s going to start getting worse … every business in town needs support right now.”

Additionally, City Manager George Lahanas expressed gratitude toward city staff continuing to work during this time.

“I just want to say a quick thank you to city staff," Lahanas said. "All of the emergency services and essential services — police, fire, paramedics, public works — who are still working as normal, and all the other additional support services are working to support that and keep city government operating and functioning.”

Council Member Lisa Babcock said she has been moved by East Lansing residents coming together as a community to support those in need.

“I have never been so proud to live in East Lansing,” Babcock said. “Just the way people stepped up for kids who rely on the schools for meals was — it almost brought me to tears. It’s been amazing when people have looked out for their neighbors.”

The East Lansing Hannah Community Center has a tentative re-opening date of April 13, according to a press release.

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