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Forest City makes coronavirus plans with shutdown possibility

Forest City makes coronavirus plans with shutdown possibility

The City of Forest City met with various entities in the community to discuss plans and procedures regarding the COVID-19 virus, or coronavirus.

Among the groups in the March 4 discussion were Forest City Schools, Waldorf University, Forest Plaza Assisted Living, YMCA, Public Health and Winnebago Industries, according to a press release by the City this afternoon.

While each entity has its own plans for monitoring employees or students and the work that is necessary, at some point businesses, schools and the university may temporarily shut down, according to the press release.

The chain of command starts with the Governor at the top, then Public Health, then the mayor and finally the city council.

"We are all on the same page with keeping everyone safe," city administrator Barb Smith said in the press release. "The point of this is not to cause panic, but simply to fact find and know each other's plan."

If businesses, schools and the university are closed, the City will notify the media.

The City will post local information on its website homepage, its social media sites and on the local radio.

The City plan also includes the possibility of closing City Hall to the public, and if this occurs payments can be placed in the outside drop box, made through the online bill pay or by phone with credit cards.

City staff will continue to work, answer phones and keep the city running, though the public will not be allowed into City Hall during the time it's closed to limit the interaction with the public.

City council meetings may also be conducted online using Go to Meeting.

"I want the public to be assured we are taking precautions, planning and will be adapting to changing conditions," Mayor Barney Ruiter said. "We want to do everything possible to keep our citizens safe and healthy."

Facts and information on the coronavirus can be found on the Iowa Department of Public Health and Center for Disease Control and Prevention websites.

Grace Zaplatynsky can be reached at 641-421-0534.

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