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Paso Robles and Atascadero declare state of local emergency 

Paso Robles City Council meeting practicing social distancing under fears of COVID-19

Unprecedented scene of the Paso Robles City Council meeting on Tuesday night while practicing social distancing due to COVID-19 mitigation effort mandates.

There are no cases of COVID-19 in Paso Robles, fire chief says

–The Paso Robles City Council met Tuesday night at City Hall’s Library Conference Room, although the meeting felt virtual at times. Mayor Steve Martin, Councilman Fred Strong, and City Manager Tom Frutchey did not attend the meeting but participated remotely by telephone. Although some of the city staff who regularly attend the meeting were present, many did not attend.

The audience included one interested citizen and one reporter. Altogether only about 13 people attended the meeting, and that includes council members Steve Gregory, John Hamon, and Maria Elena Garcia. John Hamon said he was advised by staff not to attend, but felt compelled to be present at the meeting.

The City Council, acting as the city’s Disaster Council, declared a “State of Emergency” because of the COVID-19 coronavirus. The move confirmed the city manager’s similar executive action earlier in the day.

COVID-19 in paso robles, ca

Fire Chief Jonathon Stornetta gives the city council a report on coronavirus. There are no cases of COVID-19 in Paso Robles, he said.

The council then received a report on coronavirus from Fire Chief Jonathon Stornetta, as Emergency Services Chief. He said there are no cases of the virus in Paso Robles, but it has spread to six people in the county.

The council later approved three general plan amendments to rezone the area for the Homeless Services Center at 3100 Sulphur Springs Road.
The council also voted 4-0, with Mayor Steve Martin recusing himself, to begin the Proposition 218 process for an increase in Solid Waste Collection Rates.

Original article, March 17, 2020:

Paso Robles activates Emergency Operations Center; allows for Federal reimbursement of COVID-19 related expenditures

–The Paso Robles Municipal Code Chapter 2.24 empowers the City Manager, acting as the Director of Emergency Services, to proclaim the existence or threatened existence of a local emergency. In response to the increasing spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) across the state, Paso Robles City Manager Tom Frutchey has declared a state of local emergency, effective 10 a.m., Tuesday, March 17.

The declaration allows for activation of the city’s Emergency Operations Center, which would qualify the City to receive Federal reimbursement for COVID-19-related costs to the City and facilitate coordination with county, state, and federal emergency response teams.

The Paso Robles City Council will consider ratification of the declaration by resolution at tonight’s city council meeting. Residents are encouraged to watch the live stream the city council meeting and call in to provide public comment rather than attending in person – information at

Residents are encouraged to continue to follow social distancing guidelines and to refer to for the County Public Health Department’s COVID-19-related guidance to the public.

Atascadero-council meeting during coronavirus

Unprecedented scene of the Atascadero City Council meeting on Tuesday night while practicing social distancing.

Atascadero City Council meets to declare a state of emergency

–The Atascadero City Council voted to declare a City Emergency Tuesday afternoon at an urgency meeting in the historic Rotunda.

The Council Chambers were nearly empty for the meeting. Only city staff at the dais and a few interested members of the public sat in widely-spaced chairs. After staff members spoke about the COVID-19 coronavirus and the several members of the public weighed in on the proposal, the council voted unanimously to declare a State of Emergency in the city.

Mayor Heather Moreno said, “Declaring a State of Emergency gives our city manager, as Emergency Officer of the city, extra leeway to cut through bureaucratic red tape to get things done more quickly. This is procedural. It’s not reason to panic. It gives us flexibility and gets us through this more readily.”

The council discussed the ramifications of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Schools are closed. Many small business are suffering for lack of business. A San Luis Obispo County Executive Order closed bars and many restaurants to prevent crowds from gathering over the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.

Mayor Heather Moreno reminds people to wash their hands, keep “social distancing”, and to care for themselves and each other. Earlier in the week, Moreno posted a video saying the virus is in Atascadero.

On the door at Whiskey and June Bar, at 5950 El Camino Real, Atascadero, a sign is posted informing customers that the bar is closed until 12 noon on Wednesday. It says, “Upon reopening, we will be offering a free roll of toilet paper with every to go 6-pack of beer we sell.”

free toilet paper in atascadero

On the door at Whiskey and June Bar, at 5950 El Camino Real in Atascadero, a sign is posted informing customers that the bar is closed until 12 noon on Wednesday. It says, “Upon reopening, we will be offering a free roll of toilet paper with every to go 6-pack of beer we sell.”

Original article, March 17, 2020:

City of Atascadero declares state of emergency

–At a Special Meeting held by the Atascadero City Council Tuesday, March 17, and in response to the status of the COVID-19/novel coronavirus outbreak, the City of Atascadero has declared a State of Emergency. The city’s statement said: This is not cause for concern or panic; what this very simply means is that the city will be now able to access state and federal funding related to the pandemic, should they be made available; and can activate emergency plans in order to be prepared for any future developments.

“The City of Atascadero continues to provide essential services to the residents of our community. As always, the health and welfare of the members of our community as well as our staff is our highest priority,” the statement said. “City Hall is open for business with newly implemented limited public contact procedures. Our Police and Fire stations are available by telephone. Colony Park Community Center and A-Town Park have been closed, and larger events and gatherings that had been scheduled for the upcoming weeks are being postponed or canceled. City Council meetings will be held as currently scheduled until further notice, and the meetings will be conducted following social distancing guidelines. City Council meetings are also live-streamed and are available on the city’s website.”

“The City of Atascadero is staying in close contact with State, County, and City Public Health officials for the most recent information and updates. Every community member should remain calm, act responsibly, be accurately informed and get their information from credible sources by visiting for the latest news, coronavirus FAQs, and up-to-date information from the CDC”.

San Luis Obispo City Council declares state of emergency

–The San Luis Obispo City Council adopted a resolution proclaiming a local emergency within the City of San Luis Obispo related to the COVID-19 pandemic. This declaration will allow the city to access state and federal funds related to the pandemic should they be made available and streamlines processes to allow the City Manager, acting as the Emergency Services Director, to ensure the necessary resources are available to support the community during this emergency.

The city’s local emergency declaration follows the National Emergency declaration on March 13th, the Governor’s Proclamation of a State of Emergency on March 4th, and San Luis Obispo County’s Proclamation of Local Emergency on March 12th.

The city has already taken several actions, in addition to declaring an emergency, to reduce the impacts and limit the spread of COVID-19 including:

  • Developed a Continuity of Operations Plan to ensure essential City services such as public safety, water and wastewater will remain in place
  • Provided regular updates to the public
  • Postponed or cancelled special events and gatherings
  • Canceled non-essential public meetings
  • Implemented safety guidelines for City employees and supporting employees to work from home
  • Temporarily closed City facilities
  • Temporarily prohibited alcohol sales at on-site alcohol-serving establishments in the City during the St. Patrick’s Day holiday
  • Adjusted City bus routes to reflect local school closures and enacted measures for employee and rider safety
  • Placed handwashing stations outside of City Hall

In addition, the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated on March 16, 2020. The EOC, will serve as a central point for coordinating services and resources to protect the community in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Manager Derek Johnson stated “the City of San Luis Obispo has been communicating and coordinating emergency response with the seven other cities and the County of San Luis Obispo.

The city continues to monitor the latest information from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department and are committed to reducing the impacts of COVID-19 in our community.”

The city is also committed to keeping our community informed. To receive updates from the city regarding COVID-19, please register City News e-notifications on the city’s website.

Everyone should take simple steps to reduce the spread of respiratory illnesses including COVID-19:

  • Remain calm;
  • Wash your hands with liquid soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or using alcohol-based sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;
  • Regularly clean surfaces touched by many people;
  • Stay home if you are sick;
  • Avoid others who are sick;
  • Avoid large gatherings of people; and
  • People over the age of 65 and those with health conditions such as lung or heart disease, diabetes, and a compromised immune system should stay home.


Please visit for the latest public health updates and recommendations or call the Public Health information line at (805) 788-2903.

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About the author: News Staff

The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at