Greenville City Council took emergency action Friday to protect against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, canceling all city-permitted events — including a popular Thursday night concert series — through April 17 and closing the Greenville Zoo until March 31.
The action, in the form of an emergency ordinance, was passed unanimously as Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency in South Carolina and the number of known coronavirus cases in the U.S continued to grow.
Heeding federal health officials’ recommendations for social distancing, the city has enacted the following measures:
- City-permitted events, including Piedmont Natural Gas Downtown Alive and Greenville Heritage Main Street Fridays, are cancelled through Friday, April 17.
- The Greenville Zoo will close through Tuesday, March 31, to protect staff from exposure.
- Community centers will be closed through March 31 to protect senior citizens, who are most at risk. Athletic and after-school programs are also canceled through March 31.
- City Council and other board and commission meetings will be streamed remotely. The public will be able to watch the meetings via the city’s website.
Operations across nearly every department in the city will be affected.
Starting Monday, nonessential city employees will telecommute or report on staggered schedules, and access to public buildings, including City Hall, will be restricted.
The Greenville Police Department will only respond to acute medical calls, such as a heart attack, and non-emergency reports will be taken over the phone to minimize contact.
City of Greenville fire stations will be closed to the public, while firefighters will wear additional protective gear during medical calls.
Municipal court bench hearings will be rescheduled and jury trials postponed until May.
Greenlink, the city’s public transit service, will continue to operate, though buses will be sanitized daily. The city’s trolley service is canceled through March 31.
City Manager John McDonough said officials will evaluate the emergency plan on a day-to-day basis and make modifications as needed.
“[These] decisions were made after thoughtful planning and consideration,” McDonough said. “It is our responsibility to prevent the spread of disease while continuing to offer the important services our citizens need.”