Many services have closed in recent days and weeks, including schools, bars and dine-in service at restaurants, and in-person voting for the Ohio primary has been pushed back to June 2.
But Fairfield and Fairfield Twp. local governments are still open for business amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, but officials say they’re proceeding with caution and care.
“We’re just trying to manage it the best we can, to maintain our basic operations, the be responsible to our taxpayers, while also being cognizant of the threat,” said Fairfield City Manager Mark Wendling.
Fairfield Twp. Administrator Julie Vonderhaar said non-essential personnel — the service, administration and fiscal offices — is divided in half, with a rotation of two groups.
“That way, if one group ends up sick, the other can work so we aren’t all exposed at once,” she said. “We are all cross-trained so that we have redundancies in place. We are being very smart with the focus to keep employees and residents as safe as possible.”
If necessary, they all have office staff with the ability to work remotely from home, Vonderhaar said.
The city of Fairfield, which maintains its own water and sewer facilities, will not shut off any services to city residents. Still, Wendling said the city won’t do any shutoffs through May 5 if they’re delinquent on their accounts. Distribution operators will have the intake operators “so we can maintain the status of the ongoing operations of the plants,” he said.
Wendling said there is no evidence that the COVID-19 virus survives in drinking water or wastewater.
The only thing shut down in the city is the Community Arts Center programming, but parks administration will be reporting for work.
Parks administration is reporting for work, but for the Fairfield Municipal Building and the Municipal Building Annex, the city is “encouraging people whenever they can to file or do their business online, to use the dropbox or to call on the phone to minimize coming in here if at all possible. But we have not decided to shut down completely, that is something we are monitoring constantly,” Wendling said.
Fairfield city and township police will respond to homes for non-emergency calls, but are asking residents to meet them outside their homes.
Keeping government functions operational is important, Vonderhaar and Wendling said.
“When the cards are down, people expect their government leaders to be at work,” Wendling said.
Vonderhaar said she’ll do what it takes to make sure the township remains operational.
“Rest assured, I will run the office alone if need be to protect the employees and help the township,” she said.
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