NEWINGTON â€“ As the townâ€™s tally of cases rose over 100 Thursday, careful measures were taken to ensure employees providing essential services remained virus-free.
â€śCOVID-19 has changed the way in which weâ€™re doing business,â€ť town manager Keith Chapman said. â€śWeâ€™ve been very fortunate not to have any employees come down with this particular infection. Weâ€™re keeping our fingers crossed.â€ť
Select staff are still reporting to work at Town Hall and the Newington Senior & Disabled Center, including Human Services, the Food Bank and the Parks, Building and Engineering Departments. Parks employees are alternating shifts to prepare Newingtonâ€™s athletic fields and public recreation areas for a potential re-opening sometime in the near future.
Accounting for those town employees who have been able to transition into work-from-home situations, there are currently about 20-25 people in Newington Town Hall on any given day, according to the town manager. Thatâ€™s less than half of the typical foot traffic the building sees on a normal basis.
Mayor Beth DelBuono was relieved to see measures being taken to keep air circulating inside the building and surfaces free from germs when she stopped by the facility.
â€śThey are propping open interior doors and there is hand sanitizer in every room,â€ť DelBuono pointed out.
Construction has continued on the new Town Hall/Community Center, still on target for an expected move-in date of July 27, 2020.
â€śThe COVID-19 situation has not adversely impacted the project,â€ť Chapman said, adding that an on-site nurse routinely checks the body temperature of workers before they enter the building to rule out possible illness.
By mid-April, the town had spent $10,500 on supplies, equipment and other measures to address the virus and stop its spread, according to officials.
About 75% of all municipal expenses related to health protocol are expected to be reimbursed by the federal government, through Connecticutâ€™s disaster declaration.
â€śOverall, under these extreme conditions, I think weâ€™re doing pretty well,â€ť Chapman said. â€śWeâ€™re going to continue doing our best to protect everyone who works for the town and our citizens.â€ť
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.