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Tuesday, January 19th, 2021 COVID Update Report #39 – 3:30 PM.

The Town’s EOC Group met today at 1:30 PM local time on a virtual online platform.

ACTIVATION STATUS:
The EOC remains at a Level 1 Status – Enhanced Monitoring, unchanged.

The Town’s EOC Group has increased its schedule of regular meetings utilizing a virtual platform to minimize close contact during the meetings over the last several weeks. These meetings will continue on Wednesday’s for the foreseeable future and will be reported internally. Additional meetings will be added should circumstances or other developments warrant additional advisories.

ACTION ITEMS – ISSUES ADDRESSED AT TODAY’S EOC MEETING:
Under the Red Phase announcement by Premier Higgs on January 19th, 2021, and subsequent announcement of additional restrictions / amendments to the Mandatory Emergency Order this update is provided by the Town of Sussex.

The Town requests all citizens assist in the mitigation efforts implemented by our Public Health Professionals in our Region. We are in this together and let’s all assist in their efforts. To that end the following has been reviewed and approved by Sussex Town Council.

2021 RED CHANGES TO TOWN OF SUSSEX OPERATIONS:
News today (January 19th, 2021 news release) from the Province of New Brunswick is that there is evidence that the virus is currently being transmitted in Health Zone 2 which requires our Region to return to the Red Phase. The Town of Sussex is requesting a heightened cooperation from all residents to follow the directions from the professionals at Public Health to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19, now more than ever.

The following measures are being implemented for the Town of Sussex Municipal Operations and Town Administration.

Town Parks, playgrounds and Dog Park within the Municipal boundaries of the Town of Sussex where we do not provide maintenance services during the winter months, as well as our skate board and basketball courts that have seen period use in a very mild winter thus far will be closed to public use for the duration of the Red Phase.

SUSSEX FIRE – RED ACTIONS IMPLEMENTED:
Sussex Fire Department has implemented a response complement change to limit exposure and provide effective emergency response services.

Chief Wanamaker has provided the following recommendations to Sussex Town Council for Fire Operations during a Red Phase:

  • Fire Station has been closed to public and will remain that way during the Red Phase.
  • Full time fire staff will be staggered so never working together
  • Will keep firefighters to a minimum on each apparatus when responding to calls
  • Fire Members are present at fire station to answer calls only
  • Fire Station Gym will be closed during the Red Phase.
  • Fire Members to be at fire hall no longer than required when answering calls.
  • Wearing of masks and vehicle sanitization will continue
  • Firefighters working casual days will be stopped while in Red Phase

TOWN OWNED FACILITIES – RED ACTIONS IMPLEMENTED:

  • Effective at 12:01 am local time, January 20th, 2021 the Town will limit / restrict public access to the Sussex Fire Station, Town Hall, the 8TH Hussar’s Sports Centre, and the Town’s Works Garage.
  • The ice surface in the sports centre will be held for the immediate future while the Red phase response unfolds.
  • Service at the each site / Town owned facility’s will be been undertaken remotely via the telephone, cellphone, facsimile, email and other electronic means where possible, but will be occupied by Town Staff. Public will be allowed access to Town Hall by appointment only.
  • Given the operational processes established over the first 10 months of the COVID-19 pandemic our workplaces are now secure, staff are capable of working safe and workspaces can be occupied with limited additional measures implemented.
  • Rotational access to work centres in the Works Garage and Community Services to permit staff to carry out duties will begin when the health zone is deemed to go Red.
  • Progress on discussions with implementing a two (2) shift rotational work sequencing to limit overlap of shifts while maintaining normal staffing hours will be implemented beginning on January 20th, 2021 and be carried out throughout the Red Phase.. Any adjustments to this schedule will be evaluated at each future EOC meeting.
  • All services deemed essential are being carried out / scheduled to provide minimal staff clustered within Town facilities. At this time of year winter maintenance will remain our primary service / planning.

CONSULTATIONS WITH CUPE LOCAL 2163:

  • A meeting was held at 2:45 pm January 19th, 2021 to review with Union Local 2163 President related to the current emergency situation and the upcoming teleconference with PNB at 6:00 pm January 19th, 2021. Town Administration requested this union meeting and requested consideration of revamping staffing using a two (2) shift proposal while maintaining 40 hours a week operations during a Red Phase. Union Local 2163 President reviewed with the union executive, and reported to Town Administration their position prior to end of day.
  • At 3:45 pm the Union Executive believes the best path forward is to maintain a two (2) shift per day rotation. One week early shift, next week the late shift and this method would be implemented and rotated only in a Red Phase of this current emergency.
  • A group meeting with all union members was undertaken at 9:30 am January 20th, 2021 to review this shift planning.

STAFFING, ESSENTIAL / NON-ESSENTIAL SERVICES:

  • Department Heads have been working on the development of and categorizing all services into essential and non-essential.
  • A two (2) shift system will be implemented to maintain extended hours of service while maintaining a two shift complement to provide risk management of a potential exposure immobilizing our complete staff complement.
  • A Staff meeting will be been completed on January 19th, 2021 at 3:30 pm local time. Many topics on maintaining our mitigation efforts / measures and our effort to be part of the Covid-19 solution will be discussed with Town staff.
  • The Town has remained committed to the operation of our Municipal Water System as an essential service. The following operational changes will be undertaken:
    o No issues experienced nor identified with our Sewer system. Operational testing will remain unchanged, but the system will be operated as a critical public service.
    o No issues have been identified with our winter maintenance operations that would adversely affect a two shift normal day operation. Winter maintenance will be operated as an essential service uninterrupted for the remainder of the 2020 / 2021 winter.
    o Staff rotational sequencing to maintain operations daily, but multiple contacts with others in 2 shift day of our operations will be limited.
    o Our efforts are to have two separate teams as a measure to control potential exposure, thus preventing a full staff complement response.

PUBLIC CONTACT:

  • The Town will maintain the existing process of guidelines used over the last 10 months to assist Town Staff and residents to maintain social distancing and to provide confidence and comfort to both the Sussex resident and the Sussex staff addressing the service needs of the resident.

VIRTUAL MEETING PLANNING / PRE-PLANNING:

  • The Town will continue to use the Zoom Cloud meeting application during all Red phase operations. Although not perfect, at this point we are now able to complete / participate in a meaningful meeting remotely.
  • Community Services Director and the Assistant Town Clerk had developed operational requirements of conducting virtual Council meetings. It is Administration’s opinion this method will address any Red phase requirements and will meet the requirements of the Local Governance Act of New Brunswick, specifically Section 69 of the Local Governance Act, and given the circumstances of the Covid-19 mitigation effort. This area is currently covered under the amended Mandatory Order permitting our use of the virtual platforms under this provincial emergency.
  • The Town will however eliminate all delegations at meetings during any Red Phase Zone 2 requirements.

RED MESSAGING:

  • The Town requests all citizens to assist in the mitigation efforts implemented by our Public Health Professionals in our Region. We are in this together and let us all assist in their efforts.
  • Public access to the Town’s Tennis Courts, Basketball Court, Ball fields, Skate park, Playground Play Structures, Bark Park and each of their facilities will be closed to public use. There is no immediate planning to change this status as a mitigation measure given the winter has made the facilities less than ideal for public use.
  • Public access to Town Hall, The Sussex Fire Station, Sussex Works Garage, Sussex Regional Library, Jubilee Hall, and 8th Hussars Sports Centre remain restricted. While the facilities are occupied by staff to maintain critical and essential infrastructure throughout the Town, contact with The Town can be accessed by telephone at our main telephone line (506) 432-4540 during regular business hours and 24/7 though the Town’s answering service at the same telephone number. Our focus of maintaining the operations of the Town’s water, wastewater and transportation systems remain our priority. The Town appreciates everyone’s patience with this necessary measure.

The Town will continue to request Town residents respect the direction and the above noted closures necessary under this provincial Emergency for the safety of everyone.

  • Town Parks and trails have signage placed at all entrances The Town has and will continue to undertake regular patrols on our trails system located within the municipal boundaries of the Town of Sussex as required by the Provincial emergency directive to maintain public safety.
  • As of today’s date January 19th, 2021; the Town continues encourage individuals and families to take time to exercise and be outdoors, but please do so responsibly. Our trails will remain open for use as we believe that they are a great resource for remaining physically and mentally well. The Town advises that if residents do choose to use our trails that they be mindful of maintaining appropriate distances between yourselves and others and also keeping control of your pets. Mask use is mandatory under the RED PHASE. Please observe the Town’s leash requirements and do not let pets run free for the safety of your fellow trail users.

The Town encourages responsible physical activity, and advises the public to stay spaced, wear a mask, stay safe and always stay healthy as we all work through this provincial emergency.

The Town of Sussex Emergency Operations Centre is currently active to monitor the Town response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).More Information