WATERLOO — Most county departments will bring their employees back to work next Tuesday, and will decide next week whether to reopen to the public June 1.
Members of the Black Hawk County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to bring back county employees in all departments from paid administrative leave by Tuesday.
“It looks like most departments are ready to move forward,” said Supervisor Dan Trelka, who put forth the motion.
Plexiglass shields at public-facing areas have been installed at the Black Hawk County Courthouse and the Pinecrest Building in anticipation of the public’s return as coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted, said county maintenance superintendent Rory Geving.
He said he will be installing yellow signs at entrances to those buildings as well as Juvenile Court Services instructing people to wear a mask and social distance, as well as placing signs on the floor keeping people 6 feet apart.
Geving’s request to buy 20,000 face masks from Fastenal at 64 cents apiece, to provide masks for people who come into a county facility without one, was pushed to next week’s meeting. Geving noted he has about 2,000 on hand at the moment.
“If they do not have a mask, the guard will supply them with one,” Geving said. “As the sign says at the entrance, they are available upon request.”
Plastic face shields were also available to staff per the county’s policy, though Geving said he didn’t think most employees would have use for them.
County recorder Sandie Smith said she has already asked her staff to come back Wednesday.
“I thought we discussed last week we were essential,” Smith said. “We have plenty of work for them to do.”
“That’s your choice Sandie — it’s probably a good idea,” said Supervisor Tom Little.
Board chair Chris Schwartz agreed Smith’s reopening would be a “good model” for other county departments to follow.
The board agreed to decide whether and when to open to the public at their next meeting on May 26.
As the state’s campgrounds opened up with no restrictions, county conservation director Mike Hendrickson said his park rangers were having trouble explaining to the county’s park users why the usage was different.
“Why is the state park running at 100% campsites, and the county parks are running at half? We thought we were all playing by the same rules,” Hendrickson said.
But he said he was glad to have his parks open, and said last weekend netted $8,000 in user fees.
“Normally, it would be much larger than that. But at least the revenue is starting to come in again,” he said.
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