Members of the public who have appointments will be admitted to West Hartford Town Hall and other town buildings beginning Aug. 3.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford Town Hall closed at noon on March 16, for what was initially planned as a short-term move that has lasted more than four months. While some key staff members have returned to their offices and town departments have continued to operate, the building has remained closed to the public.
“Certain town buildings, Town Hall in particular, are planning to open on Monday, Aug. 3 for in-person transactions only on an appointment basis,” Town Manager Matt Hart announced at Wednesday night’s Special Town Council meeting.
There are strict rules and procedures, Hart said, and appointments will only be able to be made for critical purposes that must take place in person. Most transactions have been able to be conducted via the town’s website (www.westhartfordct.gov), by phone, email, or regular mail, and most will continue on that basis.
“Drop-in visits will not be permitted, and doors will remain locked,” Hart said.
Advance appointments can be made by phone or email. Upon arrival, the following procedures will be in place:
- Visitors will be greeted outside by a member of the staff from the department they are visiting
- Everyone will be required to wear a face covering
- Visitors will be asked to sanitize their hands with hand sanitizer located on premises
- Visitors will be asked if they have traveled outside the state in the last 14 days, and if so, where they have been
- Visitors will need to complete a health screening form, and must use their own pen. Any “yes” responses will prevent access to the building, and those individuals will be offered an alternate means of conducting their business. Questions will include:
- Have you had an exposure of more than 10 minutes and closer than 6 feet to a person who had a test confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 in the previous 14 days?
- Have you had close contact with or cared for someone diagnosed with COVID-19 within the last 14 days?
- Have you experienced any cold or flu-like symptoms in the last 14 days (fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, or new loss of taste or smell)?
- Visitors will be escorted to their intended destination.
Visitors must leave directly when the task is completed, Hart said.
“The COVID-19 global pandemic has drastically changed how we conduct our business for the foreseeable future,” said Hart, and the procedures are intended to safeguard the health of employees and customers.
“We will continue to be very careful in how we conduct our business to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Hart.
“On behalf of the Town Council, we are glad to be able to open our buildings for critical services that can only be conducted in-person,” said Mayor Shari Cantor in a statement. “We are proceeding with each step cautiously to ensure we are doing the right thing at the right time.”
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