Petersburg’s borough assembly Monday passed a declaration of disaster emergency and an emergency ordinance in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Similar declarations have already been made at the national and state level. The measure is meant to alert the public about the seriousness of the risk and help the local government take steps to respond. Petersburg’s declaration also recognizes the negative effect the virus could have on the economy through decreased markets for seafood and a drop in tourism.

The assembly Monday also passed an emergency ordinance in its first and only reading. It allows the assembly to meet and vote by telephone through the end of April.

Assembly member Chelsea Tremblay was attending the meeting by phone and said she was choosing to keep away from others after recently traveling.

“I think this is really great and really important for a temporary solution to a capacity issue,” Tremblay said. “I can’t see how many people are in that room right now but it might be already superseding the ten people that are supposed to be at a event right now. So this is I think really important for keeping things moving as we adjust to a volatile situation.”

The ordinance could mean assembly meetings mostly by phone if needed for the near future. Some opportunity for public comment would likely still be provided in person. However, the assembly encouraged the public to weigh in on topics by email.

The borough is asking the public not to come to borough offices for non-emergency purposes and to use, email, phone, website or a drop box for paying bills. The borough Monday also announced the temporary closure of the library and community center.

The emergency ordinance and declaration passed on a 6-0 vote. Only Jeigh Stanton Gregor was not at the meeting. As of Monday, the community had not yet had any positive tests for coronavirus.