Sterling Heights plans for possible reopening of nonessential services, city facilities

City preparing in anticipation governor might allow operations after May 28

Sterling Heights City Hall (SterlingHeights.net)

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – Sterling Heights officials are preparing a plan to safely reopen city facilities and resume nonessential services in anticipation that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer might allow operations to restart after May 28, they announced.

Whitmer’s current stay-at-home order, designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), is in effect until May 28.

Sterling Heights officials said social distancing will remain the most important means of reducing the spread of the virus, so the city is analyzing the proper occupancy to allow in its facilities.

“I’m so pleased the city is at a point where facilities can be reopened, but it is important that we do so in a safe and orderly manner,” Sterling Heights Mayor Michael Taylor said. “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.”

Each department was asked to complete a plan to reduce the number of employees allowed on site daily without hampering public services. There is an emphasis on allowing employees to work from home, especially those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

More staff reductions were made by dividing employees into two groups available to work alternate daily schedules.

There will also be an adjustment to the hours of operation at certain facilities to reduce the need for coverage during lunch periods, officials said.

“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,” City Manager Mark Vanderpool said. “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.”

The north entrance to city hall can now provide for two building attendants, who will make sure visitors don’t 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 at least six feet between seats, according to the city.

During high traffic times of the day, overflow visitors will receive beepers that activate when their turn arrives.

Click here for a list of services Sterling Heights residents can use without leaving home, including paying taxes and bills, pulling permits and licensing, checking out books and movies from the library and getting help with homework over the internet.

City employees with any possible COVID-19 symptoms have been told to stay home from work. Employees reporting to work will complete daily health screenings, officials said. They also much wear masks while moving throughout city facilities.

Visitors will also have to wear masks while inside the public space.

All facilities will offer multiple hand sanitizing stations, and the buildings will be thoroughly cleaned daily, with deep cleaning on Saturdays.


About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.