By Staff Reports
(Apple Valley)– In the latest action by the Town of Apple Valley to manage the local effects of the coronavirus pandemic, yesterday, the Town issued a second executive order restricting the sale of essential products in large quantities.
Town Manager Doug Robertson signed Executive Order No 2020-02 under the authority provided to him by the Town Council’s unanimous declaration of a local state of emergency through the adoption of Resolution No. 2020-10 on Tuesday, March 24.
The action was a response to a series of requests from residents to help stop the hoarding of certain essential grocery items. This order provides local grocery and discount store managers with further enforcement leverage to ensure that more residents gain access to items most needed during the social distancing and quarantining measures.
“These unprecedented times require unprecedented responses,” said Robertson. “Based upon public outcry from concerned residents, we believe this aggressive action will give local store managers more authority to enforce no-hoarding policies to ensure seniors, disabled persons, and the most vulnerable in our community have the opportunity to acquire essential grocery items.”
Due to never before seen stay-at-home requirements, many shoppers are panic buying and hoarding, resulting in shortages of essential goods such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and bleach. Stores are having a difficult time maintaining enough inventory on their shelves for shoppers, including those most vulnerable and those on fixed incomes that cannot afford bulk purchases.
“It is a vicious cycle”, said Mayor Scott Nassif. “We are asking our residents to stay home however they are being forced to leave their home often to grocery shop more often just to find basic items. In addition, this is causing another potential public health concern, as residents use rags, towels, and even socks, in place of toilet paper, which is causing clogs and backups in the Town’s sewer system and pumps.”
On Tuesday, the Town Council authorized Robertson to establish a temporary moratorium on residential and commercial evictions and to suspend utility disconnections or shutoffs, including Town trash and sewer service, during the duration of the local state of emergency.
“For the health and safety and the health of our entire community, we’ve asked residents to stay home,” said Mayor Nassif. “But being a good neighbor also means not buying more than one needs. Stores and supply-chains are working overtime to keep items on shelves, let’s not make their jobs more difficult.”
As authorized by state law, Resolution No. 2020-10 allows the Town to mobilize local resources, coordinate combined interagency support, accelerate procurement of vital supplies, use mutual aid, and seek future reimbursement by state and federal governments in order to respond to COVID-19. The Resolution also authorized the enactment of restrictions on evictions and utility shutoffs in accordance with Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-28-20. The Town Manager implemented those restrictions through the issuance of Executive Order No. 2020-01 on March 24.
Robertson, acting in his capacity as the Director of Emergency Services and in accordance with the Town’s Emergency Operations Plan, signed Executive Order No 2020-02 on Friday, March 27. During a time of both local and state emergency, the Director of Emergency Services, per the Town’s Municipal Code, is empowered “to make and issue rules and regulations on matters reasonably related to the protection of life and property as affected by such emergency.”
Order No. 2020-02 describes items that shall be limited:
- Toilet paper. No more than six rolls unless the product is packaged in greater quantities by the manufacturer or distributor, in which case one single package shall be the limit.
- Hand sanitizer. No more than 12 fl oz unless the product is packaged in greater quantities by the manufacturer or distributor, in which case one single package or single bottle shall be the limit.
- Bleach. No more than 64 fl oz unless the product is packaged in greater quantities by the manufacturer or distributor, in which case one single package or single bottle shall be the limit.
Robertson also suggests stores use the order to identify other items that could be limited, including milk, eggs, baby diapers, and formula, for example.
“We are grateful for the stores that are already putting into place limit restrictions and hope this order encourages more to do the same and on more essential items that our residents are finding hard to acquire,” added Robertson.
Business accounts, non-profits, group homes, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and government agencies are exempt from this order.