LEWISTON — Mayor Mark Cayer and city department heads filmed a video news briefing at City Hall on Wednesday to outline the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The briefing was meant to reassure the public that city staff across all departments is still working for them and to fight the health emergency.

Cayer, who had previously stopped short of issuing a shelter-in-place order in Lewiston, thanked Gov. Janet Mills for handing down the statewide order effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday.

“I applaud and thank Gov. Mills for issuing the ‘Stay Healthy at Home’ order,” he said. “Lewiston has limited resources, and specifically our health care system is relied upon by other cities and towns beyond our borders.”

He said he told Mills last week that he believed a “comprehensive statewide order was needed.”

“Without this statewide order, the risk is too high for our health care system to effectively respond to this dangerous virus,” he said.

mtm-related-link url=”https://www.sunjournal.com/coronavirus/”]Updated coverage of the coronavirus outbreak is free to read[/mtm-related-link]

During the briefing, Deputy City Administrator Denis D’Auteuil assured residents that city staff, while limited, is available to help. He also urged people to visit the city’s website for a comprehensive list of resources available relating to the crisis.

“Connecting face-to-face is impossible at the moment, but we are still here,” he said, adding that residents will “get a live person when you call City Hall.”

He said City Hall has limited staff on hand for safety reasons, with many employees working remotely.

D’Auteuil said the city has ramped up its communication efforts, including information on proper social distancing as well as support information for local businesses.

Members of the Lewiston Youth Advisory Council have put together a series of social distancing videos.

Fire Chief Brian Stockdale also listed measures that emergency personnel are taking in the city to confront the spread of COVID-19, but said, “Even though we are doing everything we can, we need community support in order to make this work. Ultimately, we all have a part to play in this.”

Lincoln Jeffers, director of Economic and Community Development, said he and his staff have been reaching out, one-by-one, to local businesses to inform them of the city’s steps to assist during the crisis.

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