April 7 2020

Burlington Board of Selectmen Approve Declaration of State of Emergency

By: Rich Hosford

The Town of Burlington is officially in a state of emergency. 

 

On Monday evening the Board of Selectmen voted 5-0-0 to approve language of a declaration of a state of emergency presented by Town Administrator Paul Sagarino. 

 

Sagarino explained during the meeting that the declaration was more about sending the message that the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation is serious and that all residents should listen to the advice of the Board of Health and state health officials.

 

In a subsequent email he forwarded a town counsel opinion about a local state of emergency and its significance that states: 

 

“There is no specific law that provides that provides for a city or town to declare such an emergency but the executive branch (Selectmen) if they choose may make such a declaration....Be reminded that it is not likely that such a declaration provides any significant power or authority in excess of what already exists, however, there may still be interest in making such a declaration to provide guidance to resident as to the seriousness of the situation and it may have some relevance to state or federal relief grants that may become available.”

 

Sagarino added that the declaration was urged by the Board of Health and written with cooperation from Health Director Susan Lumenello and Board of Health Chair Dr. Ed Weiner.  

 

Here is the full declaration: 

 

WHEREAS, the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a highly contagious and potentially fatal respiratory disease, the prevalence of which is increasing rapidly throughout the world, inclusive of the United States and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and

 

WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization designated the COVID-19 outbreak a Pandemic Health Emergency; and

 

WHEREAS, on March 10, 2020, the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts issued a Declaration of a State of Emergency to Respond to COVID-19; and

 

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States announced a national declaration of emergency; and

 

WHEREAS, the Town Administrator on behalf of the Burlington Board of Selectmen, in consultation with the Burlington Board of Health and the State Department of Public Health has determined that COVID-19 presents a major disaster which poses an immediate threat to public health, safety, and general welfare of people residing both within and outside of Burlington; and

 

WHEREAS, the Town Administrator on behalf of the Burlington Board of Selectmen in consultation with its Board of Health have determined that immediate public action is needed in order to prevent or minimize the spread of COVID-19 by and among the residents of Burlington; and

 

WHEREAS, it is critical to take additional steps to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to protect the health and welfare of the residents of Burlington; and

 

WHEREAS, declaring a state of emergency will facilitate and expedite the use of resources to protect persons from the impacts of COVID-19, including but not limited to emergency expenditures pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 44, Section 31 and limitations on operating hours and access to public buildings; and

 

WHEREAS, the Town Administrator on behalf of the Burlington Board of Selectmen in consultation with Burlington Board of Health recommended that a state of emergency be declared in the Town of Burlington.

 

NOW THEREFORE, I as the Town Administrator, on behalf of the Burlington Board of Selectmen and in consultation with the Board of Health of Burlington, Massachusetts, hereby declare that as of March 10, 2020, following the Declaration of a State of Emergency by the Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts on March 10, 2020 to Respond to COVID-19, that a state of emergency exists in the Town of Burlington. This declaration of emergency shall remain in effect until further notice is given, pursuant to our judgment that the conditions leading to this declaration no longer exist.

 

Adopted April 6, 2020.


 

 
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