It was as close to business as usual as the Pierce County Council could get at its April 14 meeting, thanks to the new normal the COVID-19 pandemic has imposed. Most of the business conducted during the meeting was related to the pandemic.

No members of the public attended the meeting, and a majority of council members participated via phone, with Chair Douglas Richards, Dave Morell and Jim McCune physically present.

Dominating the agenda was a resolution asking Gov. Jay Inslee’s to extend his March 18 proclamation that imposed a 30-day statewide moratorium on tenant evictions as the state and local governments grapple with containing the spread of COVID-19, the infection caused by the coronavirus. The virus’ impact is having a detrimental impact on the state’s economy as businesses are forced to temporarily close and employees are laid off.

The proposal, which unanimously passed as an emergency, asked the governor to extend the evictions moratorium through May 17, provided that an employer declares in a written statement that a tenant was furloughed or unemployed following March 18 and that the tenant contracts with a lessor to make deferred lease payments following the proclamation period.

Also related to COVID-19, the council voted to temporarily suspend the requirement for the Land Use Advisory Commission to conduct meetings and make recommendations for development proposals from March 1 through June 30.

The council also passed an ordinance allowing the Planning and Public Works Department to suspend timelines associated with development permit and application approvals up to six months beyond the expiration of Inslee’s emergency declaration.

Pierce County Council meetings take place at 3 p.m. Tuesdays. The public can participate remotely in the Citizens’ Forum and offer public testimony on ordinances and resolutions on the agenda by calling 253-798-8779.