GUELPH/ERAMOSA – With 100 per cent of its staff fully vaccinated, the Township of Guelph/Eramosa is looking to reopen its municipal office to the public in the new year.
CAO Ian Roger relayed that news during a monthly COVID-19 update at a Oct. 20 committee of the whole meeting.
“(We’re) very happy, proud and glad we don’t have to do some of the activities some of the other people are dealing with for people who are unvaccinated,” Roger said in an interview with the Advertiser.
The township’s vaccination policy stated all staff had to confirm their vaccination status by Oct. 22. If they didn’t confirm by that date, they would be required to undergo training and regular testing.
Roger noted in the meeting the township’s crossing guards aren’t currently included in the municipality’s vaccination number, which hasn’t been made a priority because they work outside.
“They’re supervising the kids five to 12 that aren’t vaccinated at this point, so we are going to work with them to confirm they’re vaccination status,” he explained.
“It’s not a necessity but we want to be ready.”
Roger said the township also has some staff that, for reasons related to the pandemic, aren’t at work currently so the town won’t be pursuing their vaccination status until they’re ready to return to work.
Staff returned to working in person on Sept. 8 and Roger said it’s been an easy transition.
“There hasn’t been any hiccups. I think, like the rest of the world, people getting used to working in groups but the mask mandate’s still in place and we’re respecting physical distancing and all the provincial requirements and checks at the door,” he said.
Reopening municipal office
In terms of next steps, Roger said the town is looking at Jan. 1 to reopen the office to the public, which he added will be dependent on guidelines from the province and public health at that time.
“We’re going to keep following the ‘slow and steady wins the race’ as we go through this,” Roger said in the meeting.
The Township of Mapleton and the Town of Erin also recently reopened their offices to the public on Sept. 7, but are encouraging people phone ahead of time.
Guelph/Eramosa councillors confirmed at the Oct. 20 meeting they were content with the Jan. 1 reopening date.
With regards to implementation, to ensure the safety of staff, he said the township will look into:
- having a scanner at the front door;
- keeping the doors locked and having people ring a buzzer, and
- only having fully vaccinated people come into the office.
“(These) are all the things I think we’ll need to sort out in the next 10 weeks or so to get ready for January the 1st.”
He added unless something “catastrophic” happens, the Jan. 1 date is basically set.
“The province hasn’t lifted the emergency, the mask mandate’s still in place, the changes are going really slow,” Roger said when asked what prompted the chosen date.
“So again, just looking at the trends, the numbers.
“Everything’s still trending in the right direction, but I think we’ll have a better feeling come January 1st if we should be able to handle whatever comes along by that point.”