Morrissey head shot with Payson logo

Payson Mayor Tom Morrissey has declared a state of emergency.

The Town of Payson on March 18 declared a state of emergency because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

So far, Mayor Tom Morrissey has said the town is suspending public attendance at board and commission meetings and allowing councilors to take part remotely in meetings.

“The CDC has recommended that people over 60 not attend gatherings larger than 10 people. We have council members in that over 60 category and the town, by the mayor’s declaration, is taking prudent measures to protect the health and well-being of our council members,” said Sheila DeSchaaf, acting town manager. “Town leadership is prepared to ramp up precautionary measures if conditions warrant additional action. We are working with our business community and other stakeholders to address their specific needs as well.”

Watch council meetings from home, either online through paysonaz.gov or on Channel 4.

The mayor’s declaration also gives the town wide authority to do things like shut down bars, restaurants and other businesses, if necessary.

Already Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego has closed all food establishments where people gather because, “our medical professionals need all the help they can get and closing bars and moving restaurants to take-out/delivery/drive-thru helps #StopTheSpread,” she tweeted.

An emergency declaration allows the mayor to:

• Impose a curfew in any or all portions of the town.

• Order the closure of any business.

• Close access to public buildings, streets or other places.

• Call on law enforcement agencies outside of Payson for assistance.

“But we are nowhere near even discussing that,” said DeSchaaf.

The declaration allows the town to work within the surrounding areas where it has mutual aid agreements.

The town’s Hazard Mitigation Plan was updated last year. It has a tally of town resources and a strategy to address an emergency.

Meanwhile, town officials say they’re monitoring the constantly shifting situation.

Every day a town team works with Gila County Emergency Management. The town is also “monitoring state and other partner activities,” said DeSchaaf.

The town has temporarily suspended water-shut offs for non-payment, “in an attempt to encourage those residents to also follow CDC guidelines (not go out in public if they are ill, and wash hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds).”

Contact the reporter at mnelson@payson.com

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(1) comment

Elain George

Hello Payson Friend's & Neighbor's! Now that We are All facing Closures, Restrictions & DANGER'S of The CORONA VIRUS... We Must All Put Our Family Love One's 1st & Keep Them Safe, Healthy & Protected! All Those Within Our Payson Community, that are Healthy & Want to Be of Help Assistance... Please Talk with Your Family Members & Neighbor's about Babysitting the Children that need Care while their Parents Work, Even set up Family & Neighbor Visits for Helping the Family & Neighbor Children with Their Reading, Math, Start a Personal Journal with Daily Comments & Writing Short Stories, Playing Games, Watching Movies & Even Teaching the Children about Life Events! This way Our Community Children Will Be Safe, Looked After & Still Keep Learning! Helping Other's In Time of Need Is Always a Good Thing and a Great Blessing!

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