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Opening Day: City of Ardmore prepares for Phase One reopening

Drew Butler
drew.butler@ardmoreite.com
Glass partitions have been set up inside Ardmore City Hall in preparation for resumed foot traffic on Monday. Areas with high levels of public interaction such as the water department, reception desk, court office, and development services all have the new partitions in place.

Starting today, many businesses and public places can begin reopening under strict social distancing and sanitation protocols. These include restaurant dining rooms, movie theaters, gyms, sporting venues and places of worship. Starting on Monday, Ardmore City Hall will once again open to foot traffic, but new procedures will be in place to limit exposure to both citizens and city employees.

City Manager J.D. Spohn said only the front door on Washington Street will be open to the public. Citizens needing to come into the building will line up to enter using the south ramp to the front door, and those exiting will use the north ramp to leave the building. Employees from the water department will be helping monitor the door to make sure the number of people inside the building at any time remains low.

“These are the guys who would typically be out shutting off water,” Spohn said. “Since we’ve suspended water disconnections, they’re going to be helping us monitor the door for the time being. Only two people at a time can go into the water department, and one can go to the court. Whenever one person leaves the next person can come inside, and an employee can take them where they need to go.”

Spohn said all public areas at the water department, the front desk, the city court, and the office of development services now have glass partitions separating employees from the public. These areas will be sanitized every half hour and hand sanitizer and disinfectants will be available for everyone to use.

“We want to stress to our citizens that none of us want to undo everything we’ve been trying to achieve for the past several weeks,” Spohn said. “We want to be careful. If you’re in at at-risk age group or have any health complications, you still need to continue sheltering in place as much much as possible. Go to the store early if you need to go, and continue following all the guidelines.”

Spohn stated that the plans to reopen come in three phases, but he stressed the time between each phase is only a guideline. If a spike in the number of new COVID-19 cases comes, the time between each planned phase of reopening will be increased.

“We want to be cautiously optimistic and slowly get things back up,” Spohn said. “Remember these phases are all benchmarked, and if we don’t meet the benchmarks after phase one, then we won’t go to phase two.”

Spohn said citizens of the community have done a good job of following the restrictions put into place, and he believes if everyone continues working together things can continue in a positive direction.

“We just need to follow the new guidelines and all work together,” Spohn said. “We feel like our citizens have responded well to the guidelines and protocols, and we look for that to continue. We trust that if they follow these new guidelines, then we’re all going to get through this thing.”