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Annapolis City Council will tie coronavirus pandemic state of emergency to Gov. Hogan’s statewide order

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley takes a knee and raises his hand in solidarity with the protesters on Forest Drive. Marches and rallies were held in Annapolis Tuesday evening to protest the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody and bring attention to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley takes a knee and raises his hand in solidarity with the protesters on Forest Drive. Marches and rallies were held in Annapolis Tuesday evening to protest the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody and bring attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)

The Annapolis City Council is expected to pass a resolution at a special meeting Thursday that ties the city’s state of emergency declaration to the statewide emergency order enacted by Gov. Larry Hogan in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead of passing a 30-day extension, as the City Council did three times since March, R-40-20 extends the city’s state of emergency until 30 days after the statewide order ends. Hogan is required to renew the state of emergency every 30 days to stay in effect. He did so on Wednesday.

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The resolution ensures the council will no longer have to extend the city’s state of emergency every 30 days — or convene special meetings to extend the order, said City Attorney Mike Lyles.

“Given that the way the COVID-19 response is going, it appears that it will last for longer than originally thought, thus the need to not be beholden to a 30-day time limit for extensions of the state of emergency authority,” Lyles said. “As well, it obviates the need to have emergency meetings to deal with the expiration of the Order, like we are forced to do this week.”

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The council will consider the resolution at the 2 p.m. special meeting. The order was set to expire on Saturday, two days before the council’s next full meeting on Monday.

According to City Code, once the mayor declares a state of emergency lasting 30 days, to extend the declaration the City Council must pass a resolution. The council had approved such extensions three times since Mayor Gavin Buckley made the declaration on March 12, however, with the upcoming August recess, that wouldn’t be possible. The council will meet July 27 before reconvening on Sept. 14.

Since the pandemic began, more than 70,000 people have been infected and more than 3,100 have died. Over the last six weeks, the state and county have seen a steady decline in the number of daily cases, rate of positive cases and the number of hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients, all key metrics guiding the governor’s reopening plan.

Anne Arundel County has a similar emergency order, which County Executive Steuart Pittman signed in March. It lasts until Hogan — or the General Assembly — ends the statewide order.

A state of emergency gives the city access to state resources and activates other mayoral powers such as calling the National Guard and instituting a curfew or quarantine, none of which Buckley has had to do.

A federal state of emergency has also been in place since mid-March.

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