Re-Opening - Yes we have.....
As the Governor announced phase one of the four phase plan to re-open Massachusetts, Sandwich had been working on a plan to prepare for reopening for about a month. A Covid-19 Command Team headed up by the Assistant Town Manager, Health Director, Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director issues a first draft plan on April 24. This plan was a working documents that reflected the physical structure changes or adaptations required to open, cleaning and employee preparations needed and a review of work items that could be completed in fashions other than an office event by the public.
Sandwich is fairly unique in that its' "main" Town Hall, as typically seen, is actually resident in three separate buildings. Each building has its' own varying issues for accommodations and customer flow. All these variances had to be accounted for in planning a successful re-opening. In our department with some moving of desks in the main part of the office, we were able to develop work space that had at least 10' separations, with the minimum being 6'. Any department that could not meet those standards, developed scheduling for office/remote work. For movement away from desk, (copier, printers, counter) we are wearing masks, as there is interaction within the 6' area.
Plexiglass was installed at the main counter, and a plan to address traffic developed. In our case given a narrow entry hall and area on the customer side of the counter, we have established a policy on one person at a time in the office, with a queue line at the main entrances.
Each department was supplied with masks, cleaning wipes and hand sanitizer. Employee are to use hand sanitizer prior to; any work at counter, before using copier, printers and other common devices in department. Counter area will be wiped down after each visit. Other area, (file cabinets, cutting devices, etc) are wiped down upon starting and then again at the end of each work day.
We also evaluated, (this actually began when first closed) electronics means to do the same function that were habitually done in person. All form are fillable and on-line, and we are working on a process to include attachments when needed, for items such as motor vehicle excise abatements. It is our thought that, similar to on-line field cards for real estate professionals, having an on-line presence in as many areas as possible will limit in person visits.
As for field work, we are still in a holding phase on entering existing home (sales review, cyclical inspections, non-addition permits). The department has purchased NearMap, which provides side by side, time reliable aerials of properties. With that feature, ad well as with the clarity of the images, our appraisal staff has been able to maintain a reasonable listing program. The next focus with be interior inspections, as to when they may start again and if there are reliable alternatives.
I realize a great number of town offices remain closed or have limited access. I am hopeful this may provide some guidance to the realities all face in re-opening.