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Toledo City Council takes precautions against coronavirus spread

Signs with Xs were covering many of the seats in the council chambers to make sure people were keeping appropriate distance.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Extra precautions are in place at the One Government Center amid the coronavirus pandemic. That includes the Toledo City Council chambers.

Signs showcasing red Xs were everywhere as people entered the chambers.

Since pubic meetings are going as scheduled, the city is making sure everyone is practicing social distancing, including city council members. While some sat on their assigned spots,  others were moved to different areas to respect the six-foot rule.

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During Wednesday's public meeting, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz introduced legislation meant to protect city workers.

"Item 124 is the first example of me having to evoke the emergency powers of the charter," Kapszukiewicz said.

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Using state of emergency powers, the mayor approved a $140,000 purchase in hardware and services to make sure more employees can work remotely. 

The purchase was made on March 12, although city council approved it Wednesday. 

"Definitely a lot more people within the city-wide network that will be working from home and staying safe and dropping the curve," Toledo City Council President Matt Cherry said.

Along with coronavirus issues, the council also voted to approve a purchase agreement with Amazon for the vacant Southwyck lot in south Toledo.

"The next step is for due diligence to start, for them to start evaluating the site and making sure it is something they want to buy. And making sure they can get the approvals that they need through the planning commission and other such entities," Commissioner of Economic Development Brandon Sehlhorst said.

Once the project is completed, it is expected to bring in 10 full time and 100 part-time jobs, not including truck drivers. However, it may take some time until the public is actually able to see the plans due to coronavirus concerns. 

"I would say with all things coronavirus aside we would expect early summer for the planning commission hearing, but with the coronavirus, we're not really sure what that will do to this project timeline, but I know Amazon wants to move fast," Sehlhorst said.

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