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Redwood City Proclaims Local Emergency Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

For health and safety of employees and community, unprecedented changes in City operations effective Monday, March 16 tentatively through Tuesday, March 31

Post Date:03/14/2020 2:50 PM

March 14, 2020
Media Contact:
Jennifer Yamaguma, City Manager's Office


Redwood City, Calif. - On Thursday, March 12, the City Council of Redwood City proclaimed a local emergency to protect the public health and safety caused by the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The World Health Organization declared the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic and the United States Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determined that coronavirus presents a serious public health risk. These conditions are impacting significant City and community operations, including critical public infrastructure, facilities, personnel, equipment and services.

The emergency declaration gives the City flexibility to mobilize resources in response to this unprecedented public health threat for the protection of the community. This action will also help ensure critical services have the resources needed to continue. Additionally, it allows the City to request mutual aid from regional, State and other governmental entities.

Upon the unanimous adoption of the proclamation by City Council, Redwood City partially activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the Redwood City Fire Department will continue to support the County of San Mateo’s activated EOC. This will allow enhanced real-time coordination and collaboration interdepartmentally with essential services, as well as with external partner agencies.

“While we understand that changes to City operations will cause some level of disruption, the health and safety of our community and employees must come first and we want to ensure that we abide by all the guidance intended to protect us by public health officials,” said Mayor Diane Howard. “Even in these trying times, I am proud of the camaraderie I have seen within our community – neighbors helping neighbors and offering all different levels of assistance selflessly. Together, we will get through this and I want to thank you for your kindness and support.”

In light of these new developments during this fluid situation, the City has several updates to provide to the community. The public should be prepared for further changes, included extending the period of time for closures, as more information becomes available from our public health official’s and as directed by state and federal leadership.

School Closures

The County of San Mateo Health Officer, Dr. Scott Morrow, issued a School Operations Modification Order that will take effect on Monday, March 16, and remain in force through Friday, April 3, unless amended by the County or State health officer. The order requires all schools to dismiss students from regular attendance. Due to the school closures, the City’s after school programs and Library After School Homework Help will be discontinued during this time.

Library Closures

All four Redwood City Public Libraries will be closed to the public effective Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 31. All Library meeting room reservations for these dates will be cancelled, and refunds will be available for all paid rentals. The library will offer telephone assistance from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday during the closure by calling (650) 780-7018, extension 4.

Parks, Recreation and Community Services and Facility Closures

The Community Activities Building, Red Morton Community Center, and Sandpiper Community Center will be closed to the public effective Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 31. A modified schedule will continue for the Veterans Memorial Senior Center for the senior lunch to-go program. Fair Oaks Community Center will remain open to provide essential services to the community, including homelessness services. Signs will be placed at all parks to remind community members to be vigilant by covering your cough and sneeze; washing your hands frequently; avoid shaking hands and touching your face with unwashed hands.

City Hall Open by Appointment Only

Effective Tuesday, March 17 through Tuesday, March 31, City Hall will be open to visitors only by appointment. Every attempt should be made to conduct City business via phone, email and/or online. If it is absolutely necessary for a person to visit City Hall in-person for an essential service, an appointment will be required. Staff will set-up a time to retrieve hard copy documents from the public and will contact the member of the public at a later date via email or phone to discuss additional comments. In-person consultations will not take place during this time.

Members of the public may schedule an appointment by contacting the following City Hall essential service divisions:

  • Planning Division, including permits and plan checks and review services. Please call (650) 780-7234  email 
  • Building Regulation and Code Enforcement, including permits and plan check review services. Please call (650) 780-7350 or email
  • Engineering and Transportation, including permit and plan check review services. Please call (650) 780-7380 or email
  • Utility Services, including residential and commercial billing customer service. Please call (650) 780-7210 or email
  • Business and Residential Services, including business license, claims, taxes, monthly parking permits. Please call (650) 780-7213 or email 

In addition, City Hall’s Customer Information Center may be reached by calling (650) 780-7000.

For more information on actions the City has taken and to obtain resources available to minimize the spread and other important information, visit and follow the City on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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