Kenai Vice Mayor Bob Molloy is seen in the Kenai City Council chambers on Wednesday, Jan. 20 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai Vice Mayor Bob Molloy is seen in the Kenai City Council chambers on Wednesday, Jan. 20 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai extends disaster declaration

The declaration is now set to expire on Feb. 28

The Kenai City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to extend until the end of February the city’s Disaster Emergency Declaration issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The extension comes amid plateauing COVID-19 case numbers statewide and on the peninsula, but will allow city administration greater flexibility in how it responds to the pandemic and will keep certain COVID-specific city policies in place.

Among other things, the declaration allows temporary leave for city employees in response to COVID-19-related illness, emergency closures of facilities and the reduction of COVID-19 transmission. Additionally, the extension will also extend the city’s moratorium on penalty and interest for water and sewer accounts and on water and sewer disconnect for non-payment.

The council voted last month not to extend the declaration for another three months, as other municipalities such as Soldotna and the Kenai Peninsula Borough did, but rather for another month. The city’s declaration was set to expire on Jan. 31.

Kenai Vice Mayor Bob Molloy also said Wednesday that extending the declaration will allow the city to accept additional federal COVID-related funds should they become available.

“Based on the continued impact of the COVID-19 public health emergency, an extension until February 28, 2021 is warranted,” read a Jan. 12 memo from Kenai City Manager Paul Ostrander to the council.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.

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