HUMBOLDT — Action has been taken by the City of Humboldt to ensure it provides essential services throughout the pandemic.
“For some of our primary services, such as utilities and emergency services, we've got plans in place to try and keep the staff protected from getting COVID-19 in the first place, especially during their work hours,” said Joe Day, Humboldt’s administrator.
“Even in the instances where some of our more key people were to be affected, there are contingency plans for where to go to get assistance from outside of our community if we need to.”
The staff of the city’s public works department is doing the tasks it normally does in the spring, like fixing broken water mains, clearing storm drains and preparing to clean the streets.
What’s different is that the city has divided public works staff into two crews that avoid interacting with each other, so if somebody develops COVID-19 on one of the crews and they have to self-isolate, there’s still another crew working.
Staff at city hall are mostly operating as normal. Leisure services and cultural services staff, whose facilities have been closed to the public, are working on projects that have been on the back burner.
All staff are being asked to maintain physical distancing with each other.
Day said there have not been any layoffs of regular staff. Casual staff that have inconsistent hours, like concession workers and lifeguards, have been told the city won’t be scheduling any hours for them for the next little while.
The administrator said the city is doing everything that it can to stay abreast of provincial and federal orders so it can make prompt decisions to keep the community and staff safe.
Mike Kwasnica, the city’s protective services director, is in daily contact with agencies like the Saskatchewan Health Authority and other emergency service groups, while Day and Mayor Rob Muench are teleconferencing with mayors and administrators across the province at least twice a week.
Day said the city is looking forward to hearing the province’s projections on COVID-19, which is to be made public next week, to see what kind of actions it should plan to take in the future.