Staff at Salmon Arm City Hall are safely behind tempered glass now that the building has reopened to the public after nearly three months of shutdown in response to COVID-19. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)

COVID-19: Salmon Arm city hall, law courts open gradually as restrictions ease

City staff to remain behind glass, court registry expected to open doors July 13

Front office staff at Salmon Arm city hall will be protected from airborne over-the-counter germs for the indefinite future, as will the public interacting with them.

City hall cautiously opened its front entrance doors on July 2, with residents now able to go in and speak to staff through tempered glass.

Sue Wood, manager of human resources at city hall, said the permanent barrier was installed both for the safety of the front counter staff as well as the public. She said it seems to be working well, with people on both sides of the glass able to hear each other.

Currently, just four customers are allowed inside at one time, so residents may experience line-ups outside. So far the doors have been kept open to minimize the number of surfaces, such as door handles, people will be touching.

All services provided by city hall are available; no layoffs took place within city hall during the peak of the COVID-19 response.

Read more: City of Salmon Arm takes the big leap in response to COVID-19

Read more: COVID-19: City of Salmon Arm to hold off on public hearings expected to be controversial

Read more: Neighbours raise concerns about proposed housing development in Salmon Arm

The city has posted its safety plan on its website.

“The whole plan is changing constantly – we’ll have to modify the plan as we go and keep up with whatever the province is telling us to do,” Wood said.

Council meetings have been open to the public for a couple of weeks, but in-person attendance is limited by social distancing. However, council, staff and residents may request to attend virtually. People are directed to enter the gallery through the side entrance.

Next door at the law courts, things are slowly opening up.

Courtrooms are now allowing up to four people – including lawyers – to attend court at one time, which doesn’t leave much room for more.

While the shutters have remained closed on the court registry counter, they will be opening on Monday, July 13. The clerks will be behind Plexiglas.

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