Nome Council To Discuss Local Schools, COVID-19 Not On Agenda

Double doors with a small placard reading "Council Chambers."

The Nome Common Council meets tonight and the only formal piece of business they will hear is a presentation from Nome Public Schools on the state of the schools.

Noticeably absent are any formal discussions on the city’s current outbreak of COVID-19. Locally, there are 41 active cases in Nome. However, the council did extend their emergency ordinance during their last meeting which authorizes the City Manager, Glenn Steckman, to pass certain orders without a council meeting.

Nome Mayor John Handeland told KNOM on Friday that the City Manager does not have plans to implement more COVID-19 measures at this time.

“I have talked with the City Manager, he does have the authority to put others in, but he has no intent at this time to have any other orders put in place.”

– Mayor John Handeland

On some online forums, citizens have called for Glenn Steckman to close down Nome’s bars and restaurants although that power is not allowed by the current ordinance. Since the city has not been able to take action to close down local bars, Mayor Handeland says some individual owners have decided to close their own establishments.

“Somebody went traveling, they came back and said, ‘yeah I’m going to quarantine.’ Next thing they were down at a bar downtown. Well they went to more than one bar and so two establishments have voluntarily closed their doors without an order from the city.”

The Nome City Council will have time during tonight’s meeting for citizen’s comments as usual. Concerned citizens may email their comments to members of the council before 5pm or phone in a comment during the meeting.

Tonight’s meeting will be accessible to the public virtually through Zoom. The Nome Common Council meets at 7pm tonight at City Hall in Nome.

KNOM’s Davis Hovey contributed to this report.

Image at top: The entrance to the Nome City Council chambers. Photo: Emily Hofstaedter, KNOM.