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 The cities of Ferndale, Berkley, Huntington Woods and Pleasant Ridge have been working to open their main office facilities to the public. So far, Huntington Woods City Hall is the only building open to residents.

The cities of Ferndale, Berkley, Huntington Woods and Pleasant Ridge have been working to open their main office facilities to the public. So far, Huntington Woods City Hall is the only building open to residents.

Photo by Mike Koury


City halls work on reopening to public

By: Mike Koury | C&G Newspapers | Published July 6, 2020

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OAKLAND COUNTY — Local municipalities currently are trying to figure out how to reopen their cities, and that includes their main offices at all four city halls.

Ferndale City Hall opened to staff-only beginning June 13 so that they could get acclimated to working inside the building with coronavirus guidelines in place, City Manager Joe Gacioch said.

“Some of the changes we implemented have changed the way it feels and looks and how you’re going to interact with it,” he said. “One example is in the public lobby. There’s now giant sneeze guards or plexiglass set up to buffer interaction between the public and our staff, and that’s for the safety of both. So that feels different. I want them to be comfortable using that space.”

Gacioch noted the building has social distancing markers placed throughout and signage in every facility. The city planned to open City Hall to the public starting July 6, after press time, and he said they are encouraging members of the public to wear masks when they visit. At the start, City Hall will have limited hours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays.

“We’re taking it a day at a time,” Gacioch said. “We’re going to see how the limited hours work and we’ll take it through every council meeting. So as it comes to (the July 27) council meeting ... depending on how ... the nature of the pandemic is and how our region’s numbers are looking and how public and staff are feeling, we’ll consider reevaluating the hours at that time.”

In nearby Pleasant Ridge, City Clerk Amy Allison said that City Hall has not been open to the public yet, but their target date to reopen was the week of July 6.

Huntington Woods City Hall opened to the public June 15. It’s operating from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Fridays, though it’s closed 1-2 p.m. for lunch.

“We ask that you wear a mask and of course not stand close to each other if there’s more than one person at the counter,” said City Manager Amy Sullivan.

The city of Berkley is implementing a three-phase approach to reopening its City Hall. On June 15, the building reopened for staff only for the start of its first phase, called “Easing,” and it will remain closed to the public during that time.

“It is important to note that this is a fluid reopen process,” the city’s website states. “Information changes constantly and we are trying to adapt as best we can. The staff and the public’s safety are our top priorities. We will be moving carefully and deliberately to ensure everyone is safe while we continue to serve our community.”

While the status of these city halls will be in flux for the time being, Ferndale, Huntington Woods and Pleasant Ridge all confirmed that they will continue to hold their city council meetings virtually through the end of July after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an extension to her executive order.

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