The Feb. 8 meeting of the Eatonville Town Council picked up where the previous meeting left off, in the form of a discussion on the possibility of terminating the town’s state of emergency regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state of emergency was signed into law by Mayor Mike Schaub on March 24, 2020.
“Practicality-wise, day-to-day, you wouldn’t see any difference,” Town Administrator Abby Gribi said regarding the effect of scrapping the state of emergency. “It wouldn’t lift any of the requirements that any of our businesses have. Those are mandated through the state, seconded by the county and currently with the state of emergency with the Town of Eatonville.”
Councilmember Rob Thomas pushed back a bit.
“If there’s no practical effect, the only thing that it does is reduce transparency in government,” he said, claiming there is no legislation that authorizes the mayor to declare a state of emergency for these specific conditions — that is, the COVID-19 pandemic.
He continued: “So, we’re in a state of emergency, and we’re choosing not to enforce any violations of the emergency, which I don’t think is a very good way to do business, and begs the question: Why are we in a state of emergency to begin with, especially when the numbers for South Pierce Fire Department don’t bear out the fact that this is a pandemic?”
Gribi had previously indicated area COVID-19 numbers were low.
No decision on the state of emergency was made during the meeting.
In other business, the Town Council passed Resolution 2021-G, authorizing the mayor to execute an agreement with ESCI, Inc., for safety and training services to allow Eatonville’s utility department to comply with all WAC regulations. The monthly cost of $1,250 was included in the town’s 2021 budget.