Members of both the city's parks board and its Redevelopment Commission have met in recent days to approve emergency resolutions to allow essential government practices to continue amid the widespread shutdown connected to the coronavirus.
The parks board met Wednesday night, the RDC Thursday morning, both briefly, to approve the measure, which city attorney Dave Roellgen said will remain effective until either the county or the state lifts its current state of emergency.
So far, there have been 56 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Indiana as well as 2 deaths. Just 380 people have been tested.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting more than 10,400 confirmed reports of the coronavirus and 150 deaths.
The emergency resolutions, Roellgen explained, essentially give the clerk-treasurer permission to go ahead and pay “valid claims” associated with city business without the governing bodies themselves meeting face-to-face each month.
In short, the legislation allows essential government duties to continue “without the formality of meeting in person,” Roellgen told members of the RDC.
The boards themselves will now not need to meet again — in adherence with the CDC's recommendation that people not gather in groups larger than 10 — until the state of emergency is lifted.
The city council and members of the Board of Works are expected to approve similar resolutions on Monday evening.
“This is the suggested solution so that business can continue without jeopardizing the public's health by having in-person meetings,” Roellgen said.
Mayor Joe Yochum added that the city is looking at various methods of technology that would allow them to meet via video-conferencing, should the need arise.
The RDC did schedule another meeting for April 16, although it's possible that will be canceled.
“Hopefully this is all behind us (by April 16),” Roellgen said, “but it's too soon to tell.”
Steve Beaman, superintendent of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, said his board was understanding and easily approved the measure as well.
It's a small group, he said, typically well under CDC's current guidelines, but they thought it best to pass the emergency resolution all the same.
“This will keep our important claims paid,” Beaman said from a rather empty City Hall, 201 Vigo St., Thursday morning. “We only have four members, but anything we can do to show the public that this threat is real and we all have to practice social distancing, we'll do it. That's what we feel we should do.
“It's hard to tell people to stay away from one another and then still go on holding (government) meetings.”
Yochum announced on Monday that all city departments, including City Hall, are now closed to walk-in traffic. The only exception is the Vincennes Police Department at 501 Busseron St.
Trash and recyclable collections will continue as normal.
People are encouraged to call City Hall at 812-882-7285 to find alternate ways to handle city business, such as securing permits or even buying trash stickers.
The animal shelter at 11128 River Road is also closed to the public, and even volunteers are being turned away.
CLOSURES AND CANCELLATIONS
Cancelations and closings due to the coronavirus:
• The Sun-Commercial customer service counter is closed until further notice.
• Vincennes University's Donald G. Bell Student Recreation Center, P.E. Complex, Aquatic Center and Bowling Center are closed.
• Vincennes University is cancelling all face-to-face commencements scheduled through May 16.
• The Grow City Garden 2020 Spring Workshops at the Knox County Public Library have been suspended.
• Good Samaritan Hospital has canceled its Community Health Services for the month.
• The George Rogers Clark Memorial has closed; the visitor center and park grounds remain open.
• The Decker Chapel Alumni banquet has been canceled. For more information contact Linda Fox at 812-890-2353.
• The Samaritan Center has canceled its drop-in program and Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
• The Catholic Diocese of Evansville has suspended public masses.
• Indiana Military Museum will be closed to the public beginning Thursday and until further notice. Museum officials have also canceled the upcoming World War I event, originally scheduled for this weekend.
• The Red Skelton Museum of American Comedy will be closed until March 31.
• The Vincennes Visitors Bureau will be closed until March 30.
• Kite Day at the George Rogers Clark National Historical Park, originally scheduled for March 28, has been postponed. Park rangers have not said if it will be rescheduled.
• City Hall is now closed to walk-in visitors. This includes all city departments, including the animal shelter at 1128 River Road. The lobby at Vincennes Police Department, 501 Busseron St., is still OPEN. For more information, contact city officials at 812-882-7285.
• Vincennes Community School Corp., South Knox School Corp., North Knox School Corp. and Vincennes Catholic Schools are out until May 1. Arrangements are being made for meal pickup; those details are forthcoming.
• State Historic Sites and Grouseland are closed to visitors.
• KCARC’s 1972 community center is closed as is KCARC’s Civitan Children’s Center.
• Pace Community Action Agency Inc.is closed but managers are available to help clients via a call center that can be accessed at 812-882-7927.
• YMCA of Vincennes as well as the Bettye J. McCormick Senior Center are closed until further notice. VanGo is operating with limited service. For information on rides, call 812-886-3381.
• The Knox County Public Library will be closed at least until April 6.
• Monroe City Town Hall is closed, but payments can be made via the drive-up window.
• Vincennes Water Utilities is closed to walk-in traffic; payments can be made via the drive-up window.
• Old Town Players has canceled its April production of “Godspell.”
• The Decker High School Alumni Banquet scheduled for April 4 has been canceled.
• The Monroe City High School alumni banquet scheduled April 4 has been canceled for this year.
• The Fritchton High School Alumni Banquet scheduled for April 18 has been canceled
• Vincennes Cub League practices have been suspended through April 5. This year’s season is scheduled to begin on April 11.