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City, township buildings reopen with new safety features

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published June 23, 2020

 Plexiglass “sneeze guards” were installed at Rochester City Hall.

Plexiglass “sneeze guards” were installed at Rochester City Hall.

Photo provided by the city of Rochester Hills

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ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS/OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — After being closed to the public for months due to COVID-19, municipalities across the state have begun reopening city and township buildings.

 

Rochester Hills
The city of Rochester Hills re-opened the doors to City Hall June 15, albeit with some changes.

All visitors who enter City Hall are now required to wear a face mask, which will be supplied by the city if someone does not have one.

The city has also implemented a number of new safety features to help prevent the spread of COVID -19 — including screening all employees before coming in to work; installing floor markings to clearly mark social distancing spacing for guests waiting in line; regularly cleaning and disinfecting all restrooms, counters and commonly used surfaces; and providing hand sanitizer stations and single-use pens to all visitors.

Mayor Bryan Barnett said he is “completely focused” on how Rochester Hills can best prevent the spread of COVID-19, keep the local economy strong and ensure the best services for residents.

“We will continue to look for new ways to collaborate, innovate and advocate,” he said in a statement.

Although City Hall is open to the public, officials are still encouraging residents to conduct city business online at www.rochesterhills.org and to utilize the drop boxes located outside City Hall.

At press time, council meetings were scheduled to take place virtually until the end of June. Residents can view City Council meetings online at www.youtube.com/rochesterhillstv or via RHTV.

For more information about Rochester Hills, call (248) 656-4600 or visit www.rochesterhills.org.


Oakland Township
Oakland Township Hall also reopened to the public June 15, with some reduced hours, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

“We are continuing during other times for appointment only,” Township Manager Adam Kline said. “We still have our drop boxes, the telephones are working, we have appointments and people can do a lot of stuff online.”

Before entering the building, residents and employees must complete a passive screening, have their temperature taken with a no-touch thermometer and put on a mask. If someone does not have a mask, Kline said, the township will provide one.

Within the building, social distancing policies apply at all times. Kline said signage has been added for approved social distancing in line, plexiglass “sneeze guards” have been installed and employees are sanitizing counters and other commonly used surfaces.

“We are limiting the amount of folks (residents) that are coming in to four to maintain social distancing,” said Kline.

Township Hall added a new drive-up drop box that allows residents to submit applications for an absentee ballot, voted ballots, property transfer and homestead documents, tax payments, building permit applications, and more. Appointments are still available during business hours by calling (248) 651-4440 or emailing mail@oaklandtownship.org.

For more information about Oakland Township, call (248) 651-4440 or visit www.oaklandtownship.org.


Rochester
Rochester City Hall re-opened to the public, by appointment only, June 17.

Rochester City Manager Blaine Wing said the building is currently under construction.

“Walls are getting knocked down, the floors are getting ripped up; we’re under construction,” he said. “We’re actually expanding our council chambers so that it will be a bigger space, so that we’ll be able to have more people in the room. We’re also updating some of the technology so that we can do video conferencing in that room, as well.”

At press time, Rochester City Manager Blaine Wing anticipated that City Hall would fully re-open to the public July 6. He said city services are still available through the city’s website, phone and email, and in-person, where practical.

From temperature checks and health screenings for all departments to providing protective equipment and maintaining a sanitation routine and additional hand sanitizer, Wing said the city is following a number of new health and safety practices.

Every employee is required to go through a health screening before entering the building. Following the questionnaire, Wing said, employees have their temperature taken with a no-touch thermometer, and they must have a temperature lower than 99.7 degrees to be able to enter the building and work.

Each employee, Wing said, has been given a face covering, as well as direction from supervisors on how to use the appropriate personal protection equipment. When people visit City Hall, he said they may see employees wearing face coverings, but when a worker is at her or his workstation — and is not within 6 feet of another person — the face covering may be removed.

“Everybody has a mask, which we purchased from Kristi Trevarrow with the Love Local Rochester. It’s a cloth one, so it’s reusable,” Wing said.

Inside City Hall, plexiglass was installed at the customer service counter to provide a barrier for residents and employees, and staff have been trained to sanitize all shared services and equipment after each use.

The city has invested in green sanitation — which Wing said dries as an inert salt and is tested to provide four weeks of lasting virus-killing effect after application — for use in the public bathrooms, City Hall and at the fire station. The main ingredient in the sanitizer is Vital Oxide, which city staff said has been approved by the EPA for use against the coronavirus and other viruses. In addition, employees use other approved spray disinfectants on surfaces and work stations at least twice daily, sanitizing commonly touched surfaces more frequently.

For more information about the city of Rochester, call (248) 733-3700 or visit www.ci.rochester.mi.us/open.

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