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City takes steps to “open”

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The City of Dauphin took a small step toward normal operations with the staggered opening of some facilities last week.
With the province’s decision to allow the gradual reopening of businesses and services, the city reviewed its operations and will provide increased access at city hall for payments.
“We wanted to try to open to the public and see if the processes would work. We’ve had some requests to be able to use the debit machine. We have not been allowing people to do that, it had to be by cash or cheque or through online bank with their financial institution,” said city manager Sharla Griffiths.
“So frankly this allows people to come in and use a debit machine.”
Griffiths added they are asking that everyone follow the guidelines outlined at the north entrance to provide for physical distancing.
“If you’re having symptoms stay away. We are allowing four people maximum here at a time. We’ve got arrows on the floor and our ropes are rearranged so you come in one way, kind of make a big loop to keep with the social distancing and go out,” Griffiths said, adding while much city business can be conducted over the telephone, if in-person meetings are required, they will be held in council chambers to allow participants to spread out.
“If they do need access to a computer then we have a large screen and a computer setup in our committee room,” she added.
While the fire hall has also reopened to the public, the Public Works shop and water treatment plant will remain closed.
“At the fire hall, there’s a little bit more public interaction with that facility. So the fire hall is unlocked, but social distancing is still required. In talking to the fire chief, he said, there is very, very little activity there to date and they’re not really turning anybody away,” Griffiths said, adding while school tours normally happen at the water treatment plant this time of year, with classes suspended that is not a consideration. Beyond that, she said few people try to visit the plant.
The same can be said for the city shops.
“Frankly there’s not a lot of activity there, so the shop basically said they are operating fine and they’re not turning anybody away, so just leave it status quo,” Griffiths said.
Which steps are taken next to normalize city operations is dependent on provincial guidelines and guidance, Griffiths said, adding the next phase of the province’s plan comes into effect at the beginning of June.
“We've been trying to follow the province’s lead. The second phase, I believe, is the beginning of June. So we’ll evaluate, see how May goes, and then if things are all under control with the numbers of cases and all that stuff, perhaps we can open up a little bit more,” she said, adding the city is grateful for the patience of residents over the last few weeks.