Dear City of Kenai Residents,
I wanted to reach out to you during this uncertain and challenging time. Since the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, was first identified in China in December of 2019, the world has been grappling with how to respond. Here locally, we have seen our lives change dramatically over the past month. Social distancing, travel limitations, and a heightened focus on health and safety have become a way of life in a very short period of time.
At the City, we have taken the necessary precautions to make the work environment as safe as possible for employees while still providing essential services. City offices are closed to the public, but City departments are still available by phone or email. While park pavilions, restrooms, and playground equipment are temporarily off-limits, open space within parks is open as long as a 6-foot social distance is maintained.
The Kenai Community Library offers online services, including downloadable books, audiobooks and magazines, available with the use of your library card. The Kenai Senior Center dining room is closed, but pickup meals and home-delivered meals continue to be served. City streets and critical infrastructure continue to be maintained by the Public Works Department, and the City has suspended water and sewer penalties and shut-offs. The Kenai Animal Control Shelter will still handle emergencies and evaluate special circumstances.
The Police and Fire departments, in coordination with other agencies throughout the Borough, have established an Incident Command Structure to serve the community during this emergency. And, the City Council is working on policy actions to help local businesses make it through the crisis.
As we face so many changes at once, anxiety is running high. There is an abundance of new information and considerations we must make, and the small actions we make each day affect our health and future. This is a temporary state, and the precautions we must take are necessary to reduce and eliminate COVID-19 in the City of Kenai.
I challenge all of you to do your part by:
■ Staying home if you are not feeling well and contact your doctor telephonically for direction
■ Adhering to mandates issued by Gov. Mike Dunleavy
■ Staying at least 6 feet from other people and not congregating
■ Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and disinfecting common surfaces at least daily
Each day, there are examples of businesses finding new ways to offer services to ensure social distancing for their customers, and I want to encourage residents to support these businesses and each other.
I strongly believe our greatest asset as a City is our residents. I want to assure you that the City’s response to these recent events is to continue to get our work done in a safe and healthy manner so that we can open facilities as soon as possible. The future may seem uncertain, but we will manage through this, and eventually, life will get back to normal.
In the meantime, please know your city is here for you and that I look forward to the time when we can look back on this time and be grateful for how we got through it together.
Brian Gabriel, Kenai mayor
For more information on the City’s response to COVID-19, visit the City’s website at www.kenai.city