The Worthington community is doing an amazing job adapting to a different way of life during the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. City leaders appreciate all you have done to stay home, stay safe and help your neighbors during this crisis.
Now, as businesses start to reopen under specific state guidelines, we are entering a new phase where we can get out more to visit restaurants and stores or to get a haircut, something we've all been looking forward to. Even so, it is important to remember that the virus still is with us and it is our responsibility to follow safety precautions, such as wearing a mask, so that we don't spread the disease to others and cause a resurgence in cases, especially among our most vulnerable citizens.
The city of Worthington is taking a careful approach to reopening city offices to the public. Although most employees will continue working from home, a few administrative staff members have returned to the office to provide in-person services to residents. In addition to having some facilities open, you will continue to see city maintenance and public-safety staff members working in the field to keep your community clean and safe.
The lobbies of the Worthington Municipal Building and the Worthington Service & Engineering and Planning & Building offices are open during regular business hours. Even though these locations are open, we still encourage residents to help limit the risk of spreading the virus by conducting business with the city virtually whenever possible by calling, emailing or going through the city website at worthington.org.
If you do visit a city office, please be aware that interactions with staff will look different than they did just a few months ago.
First and foremost, it is important to not enter the building and call your health-care provider if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms.
When you do enter the building, you are asked to wear a mask and use the hand sanitizer provided. At the counter, you will see plexiglass barriers at some locations or sliding-glass windows that will remain closed at others. Social distancing of at least 6 feet is required at all locations. You will see floor markings in the City Hall lobby and, due to space restrictions, only one person is allowed in the lobby at a time at the city's Service & Engineering and Planning & Building offices.
All city employees will be wearing a mask or face covering, according to state guidelines, in order to help protect you and their co-workers from the virus. We strongly advise all members of the public to wear a face covering when inside city buildings to help protect our employees from the virus. Health guidance shows that wearing a mask helps you protect others in case you are carrying the virus but are asymptomatic.
In addition, the city is taking steps to expand cleaning, with all high-touch surface areas being cleaned at least twice a day.
Although we know the situation is challenging, we understand how important it is for you to be able to do business with the city in person if you need to. We value that face-to-face connection and look forward to the day when all our facilities are back open fully, and our public meetings are taking place again in person and not online.
Remember: We always are here to serve you and remain committed to personal service. We will continue safely navigating the changing situation and working together for the good of our community.
Matt Greeson is Worthington's city manager.