Salamanca Municipal Building to reopen to public Monday

Sean Hvizdzak

SALAMANCA — The city’s offices will reopen to the public Monday after a nearly three-month lockout due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Salamanca Municipal Building will be open for regular hours, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, with safety and social distancing practices in place.

“We will reopen to the public as best we can, and as safely as we can,” said Mayor Michael R. Smith. “But we’re looking forward to it. It’s been a long time without seeing our people.”

Since the end of March, city hall had been closed with only select employees allowed to enter for work. Everyone moved in and out through the police station door with regular health screenings to test for symptoms of coronavirus.

This past week, city public works employees installed the plastic protective plastic shields at every office to help maintain social distancing with non-employees, Smith said.

“We will be coming in and out only through the police department where there will be temperature checks,” the mayor said. “Masks are mandatory.”

Upon entering, Smith said visitors will go through the screening process and questionnaire to make sure each person is healthy and hadn’t been to a heavily infected area. Inside city hall, there will be appropriate signage at every door and every office will follow the state requirements.

“It’s the standard operating procedure in 2020 anymore,” he added.

Because it still may be several weeks away, Smith said he’s not sure what the plans are for Phase 4 of reopening. He said there may be discussions of tentatively opening city parks and other buildings, but nothing certain yet.

Additionally, Common Council meetings will once again be open to the public beginning Wednesday at 7 p.m.

“We will be spread out through the courtroom with social distancing,” Smith explained. “We don’t attract thousands of people, but anyone else who comes will have to spread out.”

Between the end of March and this week, only city officials were allowed to attend with meetings in the city conference room being held online via GoToMeetings for the public.

In the courtroom Wednesday, the council will keep their distance at their main table while other city officials will have their spots apart from others, Smith said.

“We’ll maintain it as best we’re able,” he added. “It’ll be nice to have the staff back and I look forward to seeing the people who stop by my office and brighten my day.”

(Contact Salamanca Press editor Kellen Quigley at kquigleysp@gmail.com.)

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