Los County Manager Harry Burgess announced Monday that County employees will begin re-populating facilities Monday, June 15, with additional signage and COVID Safe Practices in place.
“In continuing to align with directives from the Governor’s office, we are taking the next step to exit the pandemic emergency,” Burgess said, “Beginning Monday, June 15, we will begin re-populating our offices and facilities up to 50% capacity. In some situations, we may be implementing different work schedules – such as a staggered work shift or certain work days – to accommodate needs and facility limitations for six feet of social distancing between employees; however, as more businesses in Los Alamos begin to re-open, it’s time for County government to begin to re-open, too.”
Burgess said he has been working with the Department Directors and the Emergency Manager on re-opening plans, which vary from facility to facility.
“Every situation is different, and I have asked our Department Directors to work through these details in a manner that they deem most efficient and effective,” he said, adding that facilities are undergoing deep cleaning and that signage for flow of customer traffic is being added.
Within the Municipal Building, for example, customers will be directed to enter only through the southwest door and exit using the northwest door typically used by employees. Additional signage will instruct individuals visiting the Customer Care Center or other offices about the maintaining six feet of social distancing. Burgess said that work stations for customer service operations have been retrofit with plexiglass screens, water fountains are being upgraded for water bottle filling stations, and signage within office suites or other areas will instruct employees about CSP.
Burgess asked for the public to be patient as they enter County facilities that may have been closed completely or had services greatly curtailed because of the pandemic.
“This continues to be an evolving situation and so over the next two weeks, customers may see other changes or refinements as we resume operations,” Burgess said, “I would like to highly encourage our residents to continue to follow the Governor’s stay-at-home order and travel to our buildings only if necessary. We have moved many of our processes on-line over the last three months and those changes have been well-received by the community. Using the website or making a phone call instead of a face-to-face visit is still preferred.”
Burgess said that some employees on telework status will continue to work remotely, to accommodate building occupancy limits or to remain in compliance with the Governor’s directives.
“I will continue monitoring the situation and we’ll follow the Governor’s lead on any new directives,” he said, adding that he will be discussing plans to re-populate to 100% capacity in July if the initial phase is completed successfully.
“Our main focus is protecting our employees and residents as we transition through this next phase,” Burgess said, “We have many functions and operations that still need to be addressed, including re-opening of facilities managed by our contractors, such as the Nature Center or Teen Center, or those organizations in charge of operating our two visitor centers. Other facilities that experience a high volume of customer visits, such as Mesa Public Library, may continue to offer curbside service in the short-term, because we are still under a public health order that limits large gatherings.”
Burgess said that no change is expected in June for Council meetings; they will continue to be held on-line using the Zoom video-conferencing software. Other Boards and Commissions meetings are resuming on-line in June and July, he said.
“I would anticipate public meetings will continue in this manner for awhile longer,” he said, “and that future public events such as the County Fair & Rodeo in August will still need to be evaluated later this summer.”
He added that the County is working with the Los Alamos Public School District’s Safe Start team to coordinate the re-opening of schools in August. Many students use Atomic City Transit during the school year, along with youth services provided in County facilities.
“This is just the first step of many steps we need to take as we continue to exit the pandemic emergency, and I would ask for the community’s continued patience and support as we work through each situation in a thoughtful manner with our contractors and inter-agency partners,” he said.
Burgess thanked County employees for continually striving to maintain high levels of customer service during the COVID-19 emergency.
“These are challenging times, but our employees have been resilient and responsive, finding creative solutions and working many long hours to keep local government operational over the last three months,” Burgess said, “I am confident that as we continue to cooperate and work together with the community, we can work through every situation,” he said.
Customers should call or e-mail the office they wish to visit before traveling to any County facility over the next two weeks. The Customer Care Center is working through final facility updates for CSP and is expected to re-open customer service windows on Monday, June 22.
The County continues to post new information about COVID-19 and County operations on its dedicated webpage:
Residents with general questions about County services are also welcome to call the Customer Care Center at 662-8333, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.