City buildings reveal plans to reopen

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published June 5, 2020

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STERLING HEIGHTS — A trip to City Hall or other municipal facilities in Sterling Heights may look different as things start to reopen this month.

At a June 2 Sterling Heights City Council meeting, the city reacted to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision to end her Safer at Home order and bring all of Michigan to Phase 4 of her six-phase reopening plan.

City Manager Mark Vanderpool announced that most city buildings would be reopening soon — such as City Hall June 10.

“Employees will be reporting on Monday, June 8th and 9th, to get reacclimated to the various setups and in a very restrictive environment with about 25% occupancy,” he said.

“So it’ll take a couple of days to work through all the procedures, including daily health screening, and then we’ll be ready to greet the public at our facilities.”

Originally, officials discussed more of the city facility opening plans at a May 19 council meeting. Vanderpool said social distancing procedures will be in place, and buildings will basically only be allowed to have a quarter of their normal occupancy limits.

“That includes both employees and visitors,” he specified. “So you see, that alone is very restrictive.”

That means that when workers are included in the occupancy, the city will only allow 10 visitors at a time into City Hall, Vanderpool said. He said overflow visitors will get pagers, and the city will contact them from their vehicles when it’s safe to enter. He added that visitors will be required to wear masks, and masks may be provided if visitors don’t have them.

Meanwhile, city workers will get their health checked daily via a mobile app and will have access to personal protective equipment, he explained. Employees may also get coronavirus testing at the health care facility in City Hall.

Upon reopening, city buildings will also have sneeze guards at counters, as well as numerous hand sanitizer stations, Vanderpool explained. Janitors will routinely clean buildings by wiping surfaces, and they will do deep cleanings on weekends, he said.

The city will continue to encourage residents to do many of their interactions and services online, such as paying bills and property taxes; getting dog licenses, library cards or gun permits; obtaining records and reports; and more.

Sterling Heights Community Relations Director Melanie Davis said the Sterling Heights Nature Center plans to open Aug. 1, though it may open sooner if Whitmer shifts the area to Phase 5 of her reopening plan. Davis said the Senior Center’s office plans to open June 10 but added that no programming will happen in either the Community Center or Senior Center until “at least July 10.”

Find out more about Sterling Heights by visiting www.sterling-heights.net or by calling (586) 446-2489.

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