IG council reviews policies for reopening of city facilities


by MIKE THORNHILL
During a special meeting May 13, the Ida Grove City Council reviewed policies developed by city staff to gradually reopen city hall, the library and rec center.
City Clerk Heather Sweeden, Library Director Angela Scales and Rec Center Director Chelsea Gross developed policies for their respective buildings. All three facilities will be reopened, based on three stages that gradually increase public access. Use of the community hall will remain closed to the general public until further notice.
The stages for reopening a given facility are slightly different, based on the circumstances of each facility. The stages are tentative and may be delayed or accelerated, depending upon future proclamations from the governor’s office, City of Ida Grove and the Iowa Department of Health.
After reviewing the policies, the council said it would make a decision at its Monday, May 18, meeting as to when the three facilities could start to open under their stage one plans.
The first stage highlights by facility are:
City hall—City hall will open to the public by appointment only, on a modified schedule, to allow for enhanced cleaning and social distancing accommodations. Signage will be in place. Appointments must be made by calling city hall.
City hall will limit the number of persons in the building to one at a time (not including staff members) in order to maintain social distancing in the vestibule area. All business transactions must be completed through the front counter under the Plexiglas pass-through window.
Children are not recommended in city hall at this time, but will be allowed if accompanied by an adult.
City hall staff will maintain a Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., modified schedule for the duration of stage one reopening.
City hall staff and visitors entering the facility are encouraged to follow CDC and public health guidelines on social distancing, washing hands and using hand sanitizer. Facemasks will be required to be worn inside the facility when social distancing cannot be adhered to.
Rec center—The center will be open, but some portions of the facility, including the outdoor pool, will not be accessible (check with the rec center about all areas that are closed). The facility will be open by appointment only to members who are 16 and older. No walk-ins will be allowed during this time, to eliminate the exchange of money. Appointments will be made through Google Docs or by calling in.
All recreation programs and public use of the meeting rooms remain canceled until gathering restrictions are lifted.
Only six people at a time will be allowed in the weight room, and they must keep at least one machine on all sides of them open. Exercises where a spotter is needed will not be allowed, due to social distancing.
Only eight people will be allowed in the gym at one time for walking laps only. No basketball games, etc., are allowed.
Only six people will be allowed at one time in the blue room.
Modified fitness classes will be allowed, if fitness instructors choose to facilitate. Classes will be limited to a maximum of one instructor and five participants.
When members enter the facility, in addition to changing their shoes at the door, they will need to stop at the sanitizing station to ensure clean hands before using the equipment. Each person will be given a spray bottle and towel to sanitize the equipment before and after use.
The Ida Grove Rec Center supports the recommendation of the Iowa Department of Public Health that individuals 60 years of age and older, or anyone with underlying health conditions, should stay at home and avoid situations of potential exposure. There are penalties for individuals who come to the rec center, but do not conform to the guidelines established for social distancing, sanitizing equipment, etc.
Gross noted the summer softball and baseball programs for youth are on hold at this point and will more than likely be decided by what state officials decide for the high school sports. State athletic officials are expected to make a decision this week or next about summer sports. The initial proposal put forth in early May had high school sports practices starting June 1, with a shortened schedule to resume June 15.
Library—Scales noted the stage one plan for the library has been operational for a while. The library is not open as a public space, but some services are available. All library programs and public use of the meeting rooms remain canceled.
The physical collection is partially available. The book drop is open, and items are placed in check-in tubs ready to be disinfected. The library quarantines all returned materials for three days in the Heritage Room.
The library fills reserves and requests for patrons. Reserves and requests may be placed by email or phone. Holds and requests are available for no-contact pick-up on Fridays from 9:20 a.m. to 3:40 p.m. Materials are left outside the library building in a book pick-up box for patrons to pick up during their designated timeframe.
Library staff is available to answer calls and work rotating shifts at the reference desk. The library may or may not reopen, given that schools are closed for the remainder of the year and based upon local city government proclamations.
Library staff will remain on a Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., modified schedule for the duration of stage one reopening.
Advancement to the second and third stages for increased public accessibility in all three facilities will be based on decisions made by state and local officials.
In other business
•The council approved a motion to open local campgrounds in accordance with state guidelines to individuals who are working in the area. The campgrounds will be opened to recreational campers on June 1.
•A decision on lifting a city-hiring freeze was tabled until the Monday, May 18, meeting.