Officials consider procedures once Village Hall reopens

By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

While the Union Grove municipal center remains closed to the public into the foreseeable future, village officials are in the early stages of exploring protocol once Gov. Tony Evers lifts his Safer-at-Home order.

At a meeting April 27, Village Administrator Mike Hawes discussed with the Village Board how the new normal amid the ongoing battle against COVID-19 could look as the pandemic rages on and a cure is sought.

Once Evers’ order is lifted and public access to a larger number of facilities is permissible, Hawes said he anticipates the village continuing to promote a number of precautionary measures, including using the drop box to make payments and encouraging people to call staffers with specific questions.

But even in an era of social distancing, masks, hand sanitizer and repeated calls for people to wash their hands, Hawes said he believes efforts to resume in-person activities should be explored once Evers activates the green light.

“Offering face-to-face assistance is a level of service we pride on offering and are looking to resume as soon as it makes sense to,” Hawes said.

In the interim of Evers’ forthcoming order lift on May 26, Hawes said he and other staffers are considering a number of protocol, taking cues from the some of the essential businesses that have continued to operate at the height of the pandemic.

Among the proposals, Hawes said, is a proposal to “create a touchless environment for entering the building and getting to service counters to limit hands coming into contact with surfaces like doors and elevator buttons.”

Portions of the municipal center could still remain off-limits to the pubic, Hawes said, once the order is lifted. Public reservations of the facility could be placed on hold into the foreseeable future to maintain precautions.

The Village Board has been meeting virtually since the municipal building shut down March 17. In-person meetings could resume once Evers’ order is lifted, though Hawes said a different setting could be a prudent move.

“Using the first-floor community room for village meetings set up for sufficient distancing between board members and audience members” is an option Hawes has proposed. “This would require coordination with Yorkville and possible adjustments to regular meeting times.”

During deliberations at this week’s meeting, Village President Mike Aimone suggested other possibilities, including use of the partitions that have been sprouting up at essential businesses to minimize contact between employees and customers.

From his vantage point, Aimone said local businesses, such as Union Grove Lumber, could be enlisted to help in accomplishing the task.

“Obviously, this is going to be a very fluid thing,” Aimone said.

For the time being, as Evers’ announcement waits in the wings, Hawes said many of the core functions within Village Hall continue as employees work from home.

“While working remotely, we are able to take calls from the public, and we have procedures for processing all utility payments and other items submitted in the drop box or sent by mail,” Hawes said. “We have remote access to the village servers and have kept up with administrative functions of the village.”