LIMA — Lima Mayor David Berger on Friday praised residents for their sacrifices during the ongoing coronavirus epidemic and said the same continued level of cooperation will be vital in the coming days and weeks.
Both Berger and Allen County Health Commissioner Kathy Luhn said during a hastily called press conference that there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Allen County to date.
The mayor has taken necessary steps to close all city buildings, with the exception of the Lima Municipal Court and the lobby of the Lima Police Department.
“We are asking the public to do business with us either by phone, by internet, by mail or by drop box. We are limiting the contact between our employees and the public, thereby hoping to preserve everyone’s health and well-being while at the same time trying to keep some level of service up,” the mayor said.
Police Chief Kevin Martin announced temporary policy changes that have been put in place effective immediately.
Martin said city police officers for the time being will not report in person to non-violent, misdemeanor calls for service. Similarly, reports concerning non-violent felonies that are not in progress will also be taken over the phone.
“We are living in uncharted waters,” Martin said, “and we’ve had to re-evaluate our policies with that in mind. We will still take reports, just not in person, until the concerns and risks associated with the virus have subsided. This action is being taken not only better ensure the safety not only of the members of the Lima Police Department but also to ensure the safety of the entire community,” the chief said.
“We need to make sure we keep our police officers as healthy as possible so they can respond to emergencies. We’re going to be there for the people of this community.”
Berger asked for the continued cooperation of residents in battling the virus.
“We are a resilient community. We’ve had challenges in the past, but this time we have a much more severe challenge, one which has the potential for folks to die. The way we limit that is to do what is now underway; this social distancing hygienic exercise that none of us have done before. We need to continue to practice it.
“There are opportunities here for us to be really good neighbors,” the mayor added. “This is just the start of what I think is going to be several weeks of really difficult times for us. We need to be realistic about that and take steps to ensure our safety and our family’s safety. We will get through this.”