MARGATE – The Board of Commissioners, in a conference call meeting that was closed to the public Wednesday, March 18, approved an emergency declaration in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Commissioner of Public Safety John Amodeo, the resolution will enable Margate to take specific protective measures, if necessary, and petition federal authorities for financial relief when funding becomes available. The resolution also authorizes the city to shut down non-essential services until further notice.

City Hall and the courts are closed to the public, but essential personnel are on duty.

The Fire Department has been preparing for two weeks and will do whatever it can to maintain the services that are normally provided, Fire Chief Dan Adams said.

Police dispatch personnel are also screening calls for service to determine if someone is having symptoms of the coronavirus to prevent exposure for the employees as much as possible, Amodeo said.

“We respond to all calls for service and we are not limiting service, but we are targeting what is critical or routine. We are not accepting unnecessary things like changing batteries in a smoke detector, but we will still respond to all calls accordingly,” he said.

The department has received additional PPEs (personal protective equipment) to ensure firefighters and EMTs will be protected, Adams said. Training is being provided daily to ensure the safety of employees.

Amodeo said there have been no emergency calls regarding the coronavirus, but EMTs did transport one resident to the hospital who had symptoms of a suspected stroke. Firefighters also responded to a construction dumpster fire at 2:30 a.m. The cause was undetermined.

Regarding an influx of second homeowners since last weekend, Amodeo said they are “entitled to enjoy their homes,” but he reminded everyone that the city is still in “off-season mode,” and local businesses may be understocked.

“The businesses are adapting to the influx of people,” he said. “Normally, they struggle during the winter months and stocks are low. But I believe they are upping their game.”

Amodeo said he suspects more second-homeowners will be coming to Margate as the weather warms and advises them to heed the same warnings they would if they were in their primary homes.

According to recommendations from the city’s Joint Insurance Fund, the city shut down all the city’s playgrounds. Signs will be posted saying they are off-limits to children because the virus can live for several hours on hard surfaces, and unless they are constantly cleaned, parents should keep their children off the playground equipment.

Also during the special meeting at 10 a.m., commissioners approved the bill list and awarded a $274,000 contract to Roof Management Inc., of Wall Township to replace the roof at the Margate City Police Department on Benson Avenue.

“That couldn’t wait because the roof is leaking,” Amodeo said.

Work is scheduled to begin within 30 days.

This story has been revised from an earlier version. 

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