David McCauley
Buckhannon Mayor David McCauley

Mayor outlines 10 steps Buckhannon is taking to protect staff and citizens in wake of ‘stay home’ order

I again want to reassure the citizens of our B-U community that our City continues to work closely with county & state health department officials regarding the threat posed by the corona virus. Everyone in our City organization seeks to minimize as much as possible the threat posed to our citizenry by Covid-19.

In light of Governor Justice’s “stay at home” order issued yesterday, but to be effectuated this evening at 8:00 p.m., our City will immediately implement several additional measures to further protect our staff & hence our citizenry. These measures are in addition to those previously announced on March 13 & 19.

First, I want everyone to know that ALL of our employees are essential to our municipal operations. We will not get caught up in the “essential” versus “non-essential” discussion as all activities of our City are deemed to be essential.

Second, in order to protect the health of our fulltime staff & their exposure to this virus, our City is immediately suspending all part-time, seasonal workers without pay until further notice. Our few permanent part-time staffers will be utilized as deemed reasonable & necessary by their respective supervisors. We plan to recall our seasonal employees once the virus threat has passed.

Third, our fulltime staffs will be segregated within each department into two crews, with work staggered one week-on, one week-off. Our supervisors believe this will minimize simultaneously exposing an entire department to Covid-19 while maximizing our opportunity to be able to continue to staff all of our essential services. To be clear & as an example, water plant operators & other employees will be assigned to team A or B, & will work one week & then take a week off yielding to the other water plant team. This method will be applied at our sewer plant, waste garage, streets & parks department, & City Hall staffing. All fulltime employees shall be deemed to be “on call” at all times during these emergency measures, & they will continue to receive their regular pay & benefits.

Fourth, our police & fire departments will continue to take measures to minimize mass contracting of the virus by their respective ranks.

Fifth, our Stockert Youth & Community Center will remain completely shut down until after May 1. Our SYCC staff will be reassigned to other administrative duties for our City in the interim.

Sixth, all recycling at Crossroads will be suspended until after May 1, effective immediately. Similarly, curbside recycling will be suspended until after May 1. Our transfer station at Mud Lick will remain open for accepting recyclables as well as regular services. The April “Make it Shine” activities will be postponed until after the virus threat has passed.

Seventh, all meetings for our Consolidated Public Works Board, Stockert Youth & Community Center Board, Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Historic Landmark Commission, Animal Care & Control Commission, Police & Fire Service Commission Boards, & any & all other committees, boards, or commissions’ meetings are cancelled until after May 1.

Eighth, as everyone may appreciate, this situation is very fluid, & changes daily. It is safe to assume that these measures will remain in effect until at least May 1, 2020, & will be reevaluated thereafter.

Ninth, our City strongly recommends self-quarantine measures & compliance with the State’s “stay at home” order by all of our citizens to the maximum extent possible until this health threat has passed. The more we isolate ourselves from others, the less likely we are to contract the virus.

Tenth, avoid going to the grocery store or for other purposes allowed within the State’s “stay at home” order, in groups. You minimize your exposure to the virus by exercising these permitted functions alone.

It is imperative that as an organization, that our City continue to offer our most essential services, delivery of utilities-water, sewage, waste collection; & first response from our police & fire departments. In order to assure continuity of all of those services, we need to protect the health of our employees first & foremost while they discharge these important tasks. Also, our citizenry will be better protected from this health threat if they’re not out & about tending to non­essential chores consistent with the State mandate.

Together, in the coming weeks our B-U community will emerge from this crisis. Anyone having an emergency should still contact 911 I as you normally would. The best source of information about Covid-19 remains the Centers for Disease Control website.

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