All Newport Beach city facilities, including City Hall, will be closed to the public as of Wednesday, following Tuesday’s executive order from the Orange County Health Care Agency to slow the transmission of COVID-19 (coronavirus), officials announced Tuesday.
The county’s emergency order prohibits gatherings of any size in the county, eliminates dining in at restaurants, and strongly encourages those 65 and over and those with underlying health conditions to stay home until March 31.
“This order is necessary to protect and preserve the public health from, and prevent, the increasing transmission of COVID-19 in California and the significant risk of widespread introduction and transmission of COVID-19 into the county,” the document reads. “As this is a rapidly evolving situation, this order may be revised and/or extended at any time.”
The county’s order applies to all professional, social, and community gatherings that aren’t considered “essential activities,” which include government and healthcare operations, first responders, grocery, hardware and pet supply stores, media, gas stations, banks, and more.
In response to the emergency order, Newport Beach will close City Hall and the police department to the public through March 31, city officials announced on Tuesday. City libraries, community centers and the OASIS Senior Center were previously shut down.
City staff will continue to provide services by phone, email and through the web, Newport Beach officials confirmed in the message.
The Newport Beach Police Department will maintain essential public safety services, but the front counter will no longer be open for public access. Residents are asked to contact the Police Department by phone and email and utilize the online reporting system at nbpd.org.
Also, in alignment with the executive order, the Public Library will suspend hold pickup until further notice. Online resources, including downloadable books, audiobooks, magazines and streaming video, and databases are available to Newport Beach Public Library card holders at newportbeachlibrary.org/ebranch.
All public meetings have been cancelled except for City Council meetings. Members of the public are encouraged to view Council meetings online and submit comments by email at [email protected]. Members of the public who feel they must attend in person may sit in the Council Chambers or adjacent Community Room, where seats have either been marked with tape or spaced apart to enforce social distancing.
Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill called for a special meeting to ratify the city’s decision on Sunday to declare a local emergency. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. It is a open public meeting and video will be played live online on the city website.
These measures are among a series of steps adopted by the city of Newport Beach in recent days to protect public health and align with recommendations from the state Department of Public Health, federal Centers for Disease Control and the Orange County Health Care Agency.