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Posted on: May 14, 2020

City announces plan to safely reopen City facilities, restore non-essential services

In anticipation Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer may allow non-essential governmental operations to resume after May 28, Sterling Heights City Administration has undertaken research and preparation of a detailed plan to safely reopen City facilities.

This comprehensive plan places a premium on protecting the health of City employees and members of the public who visit City facilities consistent with federal and state guidelines.

In the absence of a COVID-19 vaccine, social distancing remains the most effective means of reducing the risk of transmission of the virus. To ensure that not less than six feet of spacing between employees and visitors is realized within City facilities at all times, the City analyzed the proper occupancy load within its facilities in accordance with state guidelines. Based on the number of employees and visitors allowed, the City had each department complete a thorough personnel plan to reduce the number of employees on site daily, without compromising the efficient delivery of public services. There was an emphasis of allowing work from home, especially for employees vulnerable to COVID-19 due to age or health. Other reductions were achieved by developing two pools of employees available to work alternate daily schedules. The final modification is an adjustment to hours of operation at certain City facilities to reduce the need for coverage during lunch periods. 

To ensure visitors to City facilities do not overwhelm available staff and are protected by observance of social distancing, the City’s plan incorporates efficiency principles from Lean Six Sigma training to control the flow of visitors within City Hall. The City has modified its north entrance to City Hall to provide for two building attendants who will make sure that visitors do not stack up at service counters. Each of the five service counters will service one visitor at a time, and overflow will be safely seated in a waiting area with not less than six feet of spacing between seats. During high traffic times of the day, overflow visitors will be provided beepers that will activate when a there is availability within City Hall to assist a visitor. The City is also providing public outreach on the extensive array of services that can be completed by businesses and residents on-line. A comprehensive list of services residents can use without ever leaving home can be found at www.sterling-heights.net/athomeservices. Options include everything from paying taxes and bills online to pulling permits and licensing online and even checking out books and movies from the library or getting help with homework over the internet.

To further mitigate the risk of transmission, City employees are being directed to stay home from work should they be experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, coughing, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste or smell. Every City employee reporting for work will complete a daily health screening that includes a health assessment questionnaire and temperature check. Employees will be required to wear a mask when moving throughout City facilities. Visitors to City facilities will also be required to wear a mask while inside the public space. Detailed work plans for observing social distancing and using personal protection equipment have been developed for employees required to work outside of City facilities. All facilities will be equipped with multiple hand sanitizing stations and the buildings will be thoroughly cleaned daily with deep cleaning on Saturdays. 

“This detailed plan provides the greatest assurance that employees and the public can safely return to City facilities and resume operations during this challenging time,” notes City Manager Mark Vanderpool. “While some of the facility changes and personal protection requirements being implemented may require some getting used to, it is critical for everyone’s health that we adhere to the plan. We appreciate the patience of our residents as we work through this transitional period in the most effective and safest way possible.”

“I’m so pleased the City is a point where facilities can be re-opened, but it is important that we do so in a safe and orderly manner,” adds Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor. “This plan is just another example where Sterling Heights has been a leader during this public health crisis. I commend our police officers and fire fighters for seeing us through the worst of the outbreak, and I appreciate the effort of City employees to prepare us for a safe re-opening. We’ll continue to rely on this amazing team effort as we progress with a responsible game plan to transition back to full operations.”

To access the City of Sterling Heights Plan for Re-Opening of City Facilities and Resumption of Non-Essential Services, please click www.sterling-heights.net/returntowork.

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