KENAI, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska utility plans to hold its annual meeting, but has encouraged members to stay away over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

The Homer Electric Association’s yearly meeting scheduled for the first week of May is mandated by its bylaws, The Peninsula Clarion reported Saturday.

Member Relations Director Bruce Shelley said the association’s board of directors does not have the authority to cancel the meeting, but wants to respect health mandates issued in March by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy prohibiting large gatherings and travel between communities.

“We’re trying to follow our bylaws, but we want you to follow the governor’s mandates,” Shelley said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

An article in the association’s bylaws requires a members meeting every year in the beginning of May to elect the utility’s board, present reports on the previous fiscal year and conduct other business.

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The meeting is expected to be held to avoid potential legal issues that could arise from cancellation without the consent of members. A meeting is the only method to change the bylaws, Shelley said.

If fewer than 50 people attend, those present can move to cancel or postpone the meeting.

“Upon getting legal advice, we decided it would be best to announce the meeting,” Shelley said. “But we fully expect members not to show up. Safety should prevail.”

An official ballot election can still be held without a meeting. Ballot packets were mailed to all members April 10, Shelley said.

The results of the election are scheduled to be announced May 7.