Hay River town hall was set to reopen on July 6, after being closed to the public since mid-March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the public hours for the administrative offices will be limited.
Sam Mugford, the town’s director of finance, described the reopening plans at the June 30 online meeting of council.
“As part of the Emerging Wisely plan issued by the GNWT, the town is preparing to reopen the facility to the public with new restrictions and limitations on hours in place,” said Mugford.
Public hours without an appointment will be restricted to 11 a.m.-3 p.m. each workday.
“This will allow enough time to clean the facility and ensure the safety of the public and staff,” said Mugford. “Customers must maintain social distancing with a minimum six feet from one another, between other customers and staff.”
Appointments can also be made to see town employees.
Due to the limited reception area, access to the building will be limited to three guests at any time to ensure social distancing.
Plus, members of the public will not be permitted beyond the reception desk without special permission.
Mugford noted that anyone who has travelled outside of the NWT within the previous 14 days or who is feeling unwell will not be permitted to enter the building.
Speaking to The Hub, Glenn Smith, the new senior administrative officer for the town as of June 30, said about 12 town employees will be returning to work at town hall after working from home.
“It’s really just the community centre that’s closed right now,” he said, noting the Visitor Information Centre has resumed operations.
Smith said employees working at home were “quite effective” in maintaining town administrative services.
“I think overall we were effective and productivity remained very close to normal,” he said.
Residents are still being encouraged to continue to use online resources to facilitate business with the town.
There has been no final decision on whether town council will resume meeting in person or continue to meet online.
Mayor Kandis Jameson is seeking input from councillors on the matter.
“I do feel that it is working rather well this way,” she said of online meetings. “But again I’d like to hear input from the rest of you on that.”
Jameson said it has to be safe to resume in-person meetings, but it would be a little tight in council chambers for social distancing.
Even if council does resume meeting in person, there would not be enough space for members of the public to attend and social distance, meaning residents would have to view the meetings online.