Wiscasset using sneeze guards, other precautions for town business

Mon, 03/16/2020 - 1:45pm

    Wiscasset shared this “notice to employees” with local media Monday afternoon. It also contains helpful information for the public on access and operations in light of the global concern of coronavirus:

    As we all are aware, the coronavirus is a major health concern in Maine and across the globe. The situation is very fluid and is changing rapidly. Much is still unknown, but we do know that community spread is a concern. As such it is prudent to limit person to person contact as much as possible, yet still continue to function as a society as best we can, as essential services must still be provided.

    Municipal operations: Employees who have a fever, cough, and/or shortness of breath should stay home and seek medical advice. If you report to work with any of these symptoms you will be sent home immediately.

    Municipal building operations: Effective immediately, we will post an announcement in the papers and on our website encouraging people to conduct transactions such as motor vehicle re-registrations, fish and game licenses and so forth online rather than in person. In person transactions will be available but delays can be expected.

    Access to the town office end of the building will be limited to the front door only. The back door will remain locked and the hallway to the mailroom and bathrooms will be restricted to employees only. The public bathroom will be off limits to the public at all times. No more than three people will be allowed in the front door hallway at any one time. A fan will be placed in the hallway leading to the meeting room drawing air away from the office areas. A window in the meeting room shall be opened slightly to allow a cross ventilation from the office areas to the outside.

    Sneeze guards will be placed into the public counter area to limit direct contact with the public. Employees are to wear gloves or wash or sanitize their hands after each encounter with the public. Do not touch anything, including your face, until you have done so. Computer and phone use will be limited to your own workstation as much as possible. Items such as keyboards should be wiped down frequently.

    Town office hours remain the same, however, they may need to be reduced should staffing levels fall due to personnel shortages. Package deliveries should be directed to the police department lobby area only.

    Non-essential public and committee meetings will be postponed until further notice. Selectman’s meetings will take place as scheduled and will be limited to only those items that are essential to the running of the town, such as approval of payroll and accounts payable warrants. Non-essential items will not be included on any agenda until further notice. Public participation in the meeting room will be limited to 10 persons with no more than 15 people total, including the selectmen, town manager and recording secretary at any one time. Department heads and/or town employees will not attend any meeting unless requested by the selectmen or town manager and then should only be present for the period of time necessary to conduct whatever business they are needed for. An announcement will be made that the meetings are broadcast on Youtube. Members of the public will be restricted to the meeting room only.
    Selectmen budget meetings will be held as scheduled. Participation will be limited to only those departments on the agenda. Same rules for public participation in selectmen meetings apply to budget meetings.

    Fire department: No public meetings will be allowed in the fire department. Trainings will be postponed until further notice. Access will be restricted to firemen and town employees only. Other than to allow for vehicle movement or maintenance, the fire department garage doors will remain closed at all times.

    Ambulance department: No public meetings will take place in the classroom. Trainings will be postponed until further notice. Upstairs areas will be restricted to on duty personnel only. Members of the public shall be restricted to downstairs hallway. Other than to allow vehicle movement, the ambulance bay garage doors will remain closed at all times. Employees will take their bedding home with them each night. Employees are encouraged to bring an extra set of clothes with them for each shift, allowing them to wash and change their clothes as needed. All ambulance personnel will follow established SOG’s for contact with suspected COVID-19 patients.

    Police department: Public access to the police department will be limited to the outer entrance and lobby areas only. The door to the administrative assistant’s office will remain closed at all times. Access to the office will be limited to police department personnel only. The door leading to the patrol room, sergeant’s office and bathrooms will remain closed at all times. The bathrooms will be limited to town employee use only. No more than three people will be allowed in the lobby area at a time.

    Public works/transfer station: Public works/transfer station employees will limit direct contact with the public as much as possible, maintaining a social distance of at least six feet. Transfer station business will be limited to bagged trash only. No recyclables will be accepted until further notice. Hours of operation may change due to staff availability.

    Community center/senior center: Due to the highly communicable nature of this virus, the community/senior center shall be closed until March 30th. This date may change depending on the situation at that time. Seniors requiring services should contact the town office via phone or email. Any requests for services should be forwarded to the EMS director.

    No town employee shall attend outside meetings or trainings other than those directly related to the coronavirus situation. As much as possible such meetings shall take place via video or conference call.

    Department heads may put into place more restrictive practices as they deem necessary. This is a rapidly evolving situation and updates may be issued at any time.

    Per orders of John O’Connell, town manager (and) Dennis Simmons, EMS/EMA director