The Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake is hoping to welcome people back into municipal headquarters in January.
“I’m really looking forward to the doors being open for the public during business hours,” Lord Mayor Betty Disero said in an interview.
Disero said staff are planning for a partial opening at the beginning of January but she hopes the town hall and other municipal buildings will be fully open by the middle of January.
Administrators are working to implement safety measures inside municipal buildings, including installing safety barriers, stickers on the floor to guide foot traffic and hiring a COVID-19 screening officer for town hall, spokesperson Lauren Kruitbosch said.
The screening officer will be paid for out of COVID-19 aid funds the town has received, chief administrator Marnie Cluckie said.
Some services will require different forms of communication for residents to use them.
For example, payments can be made online, in a dropbox or by walking into town hall, while permit applications can be done online, via a dropbox or through a scheduled in-person appointment.
A full list of the various services and the way residents can access them will be provided on the town’s website in the coming weeks, Kruitbosch said.
The town will maintain its virtual service options for people who don’t feel comfortable going to town hall yet.
As well, a curbside pick up option will be implemented for items such as dog tags and parking permits, Kruitbosch said.
Of course, all opening decisions are subject to the evolving COVID-19 situation in Ontario, Disero said.
“This is all dependent on what happens with the provincial government,” she said.