The coronavirus outbreak has stymied millions of people nationwide and around the world from living their normal lives. In West Haven, city officials are trying to carry on day-to-day operations, while keeping public offices closed to residents.
While April 30 is the target date for bringing some semblance of normal life, according to President Donald J. Trump’s COVID-19 Task Force, city officials are cautiously optimistic, hoping the April 30 date will be realized, and limited access to city offices can resume.
Mayor Nancy Rossi, this week, said public employees are on the job in City Hall, though the public is denied access in order to keep person-to-person contact at a minimum.
“Though City Hall is closed to the public, city employees are still working in the building,” she said. There is a secured lockbox just inside the Main Street entrance, which is available to the public during normal business hours, Monday through Thursday. Correspondence may be left in the box and will be routed to the appropriate city department.”
She said she anticipates the city will be closed at least until the end of the month.
“We anticipate that limited access to City Hall and other public buildings will continue at least through the end of April. We are in communication with national and state public health experts, and will consult with them and our health director, Maureen Lillis, MPH, to determine the appropriate time to reopen the buildings. Our overall goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy,” she said.
While those in City Hall are working, other city departments are on the job as well as are trash pick-ups, according to Rossi.
“The Department of Public Works continues to ensure that essential services are uninterrupted for the residents of West Haven. Trash and recycling pickups are running on schedule, and leaf and grass pickup has begun. The first bulk trash pickup of 2020 will take place as scheduled, on residents’ regular trash days, during the week of April 20. The city’s second e-waste drop-off event of the year is scheduled for Saturday, April 25,” she said.
Regarding the e-waste collection, in accordance with current social distancing guidance, DPW is asking that residents drive up to the city’s highway maintenance garage at One Collis St between the hours of 8 a.m. and noon. Cars will be spaced appropriately. Event workers will remove the e-waste material from residents’ vehicles. There should be no direct contact between residents and workers.
Meanwhile, Rossi reported the the Water Pollution Control plant is fully operational, and Parks Maintenance is working on athletic facilities for the spring and summer seasons.
Rossi noted that residents can still call on city departments if there is a problem that needs addressing.
“Residents can call public works for service or to report problems as they have done in the past. Our men and women in public works, as have all of our city and Board oif Education employees, have really stepped up and are leading by example in the community. I truly appreciate their efforts and loyalty to the community,” she said.
City officials, like most people, are keeping up with national and state updates as far as the virus is concerned. Rossi noted the city’s emergency management team is in contact with state officials.
She also noted the city’s delegation to the General Assembly has worked to help residents understand the services and programs the state is offering.”Our state delegation (Reps. Dorinda Borer, Michael DiMassa, and Charles Ferraro and Sens. James Maroney and Gary Winfield) have been available and are working on the city’s behalf. They have been disseminating information on the many services and programs available to our residents and businesses from the state and federal government.
Asked what her current routine is during the pandemic, Rossi had a wry response.
“There is nothing about the current situation that is routine. I am usually in the office six days a week. There are multiple daily briefings from federal and state health authorities, and I am in constant communication with our department heads and our health director regarding the COVID-19 situation in our city. I do occasionally work from home, though overall it is important that I am in the office and available,” she said.