Prince Albert City Hall will reopen to the public on Monday, June 22 with some restrictions still in place.
Residents will be allowed inside to pay bills or conduct other regular transactions, but security guards will perform mandatory temperature checks on members of the public who enter. Anyone with a fever above 38 degrees will not be allowed inside. The who do enter will have to use hand sanitizer. City Hall hasn’t been open to the public since March 20.
Despite the news, city officials recommend residents keep paying their bills electronically, if they are able.
“Whenever possible, please continue to use online payment options,” reads a media release from the City. “Payments for water utility bills and property taxes can be made through most banks. There is also a secure drop box located at the West entrance for those that are unable to make payments through cheque or money order.”
Provincial social distancing guidelines say a maximum of 15 members of the public can be in the City Hall foyer at any one time, but Community Services Director Jody Boulet said the actual cap will be lower. City officials were still laying out a proper floor plan as of Friday afternoon, so they haven’t reached a final decision.
“I can’t really settle on an exact number today, but what I can say is it’s probably going to be lower than the 15 that we’re allowed to host safely within the facility,” Boulet explained. “To adhere with those guidelines, and the proper distancing required, we’ll probably be a little bit under the maximum number that we’re allowed.”
If City Hall reaches its capacity, some residents may have to wait outside before being allowed to enter. Only the front desk will be open, and all residents will have to enter through the west doors.
When asked if City Hall was open for good, Boulet said they were monitoring the pandemic on a day-to-day basis. If COVID-19 cases start to rise, and the risk increases, city administration will review the conditions and present their findings to city council. Council will then decide whether to keep the building open.
“If we do see anything that concerns us we’ll certainly report that to members of council so that a decision can be made,” Boulet said.”
With City Hall reopening, bus passes will once again be sold at regular rates.
Outdoor pools, spray parks and sports fields in Saskatchewan can also reopen on Monday, although there’s no guarantee that will happen in Prince Albert.
City administrators are still discussing whether it’s feasible to open those facilities. Boulet said they’ll have a recommendation ready in the near future, which will then be voted on by city council.
When asked if outdoor facilities would remain closed for the summer, Boulet said they were considering all options but hadn’t reached a final decision. Previous budget estimates are no longer accurate due to the COVID pandemic, and city administrators will need time to redo them.
They’ll also have to consider recommendations from public groups that use the facilities. Boulet said local sports organizations have been especially helpful in providing the city with return to play plans and sport-specific guidelines. If public demand is high, facilities will reopen.
“I think everybody’s very excited to get back into our facilities, to get back to doing what we have always done in our community, and that’s offer some great community services,” he said.
While outdoor facilities could open soon, Little Red River Park will remain closed to vehicle traffic. Crews are still assessing and repairing roadway damage caused by spring flooding.
The park is otherwise in good condition, and can be accessed through the upper flats in the East and the north parking lot in the West. A media release sent out on Friday says the park will reopen once the area dries out.