The Board of City Commissioners learned about plans to open City Hall and other locations for business at their monthly meeting Monday.
With Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s order shutting down cities lifting June 1, it’s time to start thinking about getting back to some semblance of normal and Sallisaw city staff is working tirelessly to make the reopening easier on everyone, Sallisaw City Manager Keith Skelton said during the meeting.
As of May 12 there are currently 14 positive cases of coronavirus in Sequoyah County, and there have been three deaths.
Skelton announced that the city received a grant from the Oklahoma District Attorney’s Council to purchase a machine that can make about 100 gallons per day of sanitizer, which will be used at all city facilities, playgrounds, schools and other sites. The sanitizer is proven to kill the COVID-19 illness.
“We’re very excited for others to use the machine. We will be ordering it as soon as possible,” Skelton said.
All city crews are back on their normal schedules, Skelton said. City Hall is tentatively set to reopen to the public on Thursday. Visitors will see several changes to the facility, including glass that protects the employees working behind the counter, as well as a privacy room for people to discuss personal business.
Skelton said city staff is working on new procedures for reopening and that current plans include keeping the back door of City Hall locked. “This is nothing that’s going to happen overnight,” Skelton told the commissioners. “It’s a process that we have to go through. We’ve got to get back to normal as soon as we can.”
Patrons won’t be allowed to use the elevator at City Hall, Skelton said, and the upper floors of the building will be closed to the public as well.
Campsites at Brushy Lake are reopened, Skelton said, and city crews will be removing fencing from playgrounds on Wednesday.
There are also tentative plans to resume utility disconnections and penalties that were waived because of the coronavirus pandemic on May 26, Skelton said.
One issue plaguing the city is the swimming pool. Commissioners discussed tentative reopening dates but Skelton warned that the late start could lead to a shortage of lifeguards. The panel decided the pool would be opened June 1, but only if there are enough lifeguards. The number of swimmers allowed at the pool would be strictly limited, Skelton said. The diving board won’t be available to swimmers, either.
As for the city’s Splash Pad, Skelton said there are still some items that need to be reinstalled, but it may be allowed to open before June 1.
Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer
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