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St. Clair Shores City Hall, library, other SCS buildings reopen to public

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published June 19, 2020

 Visitors to the St. Clair Shores Public Library are asked to stop, sanitize their hands and take a time card to track the library’s capacity.

Visitors to the St. Clair Shores Public Library are asked to stop, sanitize their hands and take a time card to track the library’s capacity.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Masks, hand sanitizer and plexiglass dividers greet visitors to St. Clair Shores municipal buildings as they reopen after a nearly three-month shutdown due to COVID-19.

City Hall, the Department of Public Works, the police station, the Parks and Recreation Department and the library have reopened their doors to the public, albeit with adjusted hours.

City Manager Matthew Coppler said visitors to city buildings will see a lot more signage and social distancing markings on the floor. Anywhere that city employees interact with the public, such as the library, Parks and Recreation Department and City Hall, there have been plexiglass shields installed where possible to protect employees and the public.

Those coming into a city building are asked to wear a face mask or covering, unless they are medically unable to do so, although Coppler said that city officials are relying on the public to police themselves and officials do not require a doctor’s note or other proof that a person is medically unable to wear a mask.

Signage around city buildings also requests that those who have been ill or who have been exposed to COVID-19 not come into the building.

“We’re relying on our customers to do the right thing, just as everyone else is doing, so we don’t elevate the risk to the public and our staff,” Coppler said June 15.

Hours at city buildings have been adjusted to allow for staff to take health precautions before their shift begins. Every building will also include a sanitizing station at entrances where employees and visitors will be required to sanitize their hands upon entry.

The city has also designated entry points to limit congestion at each building and has upgraded air filtration systems.

Yellow arrows on the ground point to the correct door to be used to enter the library, where patrons are greeted by an employee offering hand sanitizer and asking visitors to take a time-stamped card to track building capacity. Patrons are asked not to linger in the library and to stay an hour or less if possible.

“We really have limited some of the services. Some of the libraries are calling it a grab-and-go type thing,” said Library Director Rosemary Orlando. “We have eliminated a lot of the seating.”

Nevertheless, on the second day of opening, Orlando said that it was clear residents had missed the library.

“Everyone that walked in the building commented that they were thrilled to be able to be back in the building,” she said.

Until further notice, the library is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays to allow for cleaning and to allow items to be reshelved when there are no longer patrons in the library. Materials are being quarantined for 72 hours before being reshelved once they have been returned.

The week of June 8, the library launched a curbside service that attracted more than 100 visitors over just two days, Orlando said. The St. Clair Shores Public Library is still offering curbside service for those who are unable to come into the physical library building.

Those interested in using the service should call (586) 771-9020 to make an appointment to get their materials. A library employee will then bag the patron’s items, check them out and deliver them to the resident’s car.

Building capacities are being limited to 50%, but Coppler said that capacity will still allow quite a few people inside buildings such as the library at one time because of its size.

“It hasn’t been a problem reaching our capacity yet, and people have been thrilled to be back in the building,” Orlando agreed.

Those wishing to use a computer or the internet can also call to make an appointment. There is a limit of one, one-hour session per person, per day.

City Hall is open Mondays-Fridays 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The Parks and Recreation Department at Civic Arena is open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays. The DPW is open 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, and the Police Department lobby is open 24 hours, while the records bureau is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and 4-7 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of the month.

Despite being closed from March 17 to June 15, Orlando said, plenty of patrons made use of the library’s online resources. The use of Ancestry by library patrons increased by 700 users per month; Freegal’s music service increased by 300 users per month; and Overdrive, with digital books, saw a user increase of 300 per month, as well. Orlando said that many of the online vendors that don’t typically allow users to access their services outside of the library did allow users to access their resources at home during the shutdown. Currently, she said, Ancestry is allowing users to access the system at home through July 31.

For more information and to access the online resources the library offers, visit scslibrary.org.

“The entire library community has kind of worked together to service the public during this unique time,” Orlando said.

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