Impact of COVID-19 on city government

Media Release

Coronavirus information center: http://stillwater.org/page/breaking-news

It’s been two weeks since the mayor’s first emergency declaration concerning COVID-19, and the City of Stillwater is seeing that its planning to keep city services and programs operational is paying off.

“We recognized that many of the city’s functions are essential to our residents,” City Manager Norman McNickle said. “So we looked at how we ran and staffed every operation, and we asked our team members to determine the safest way to operate in this time.”

As a result, some city employees are working from home; some are working staggered work weeks; some are working at city hall, but in different offices to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Staff are focusing on deep cleaning its public areas and workspaces.

“This is working,” McNickle said. “For example, this week a subcontractor at the Water Treatment Plant tested positive for COVID-19, which resulted in the seven-member team who were in contact with him being placed in self-quarantine. However, because of the proactive steps we took to stagger employees’ work schedules, another water treatment team was available to take over.”

Water Quality Information

“As our community takes steps to limit the spread of COVID-19, we understand that our customers are interested in the safety of our drinking water,” McNickle said. “Your city tap water is safe.”

According to both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Stillwater’s water treatment process will remove and inactivate pathogens, including the virus that causes COVID-19. The virus that causes COVID-19 has not been found in drinking water, and there is no evidence of it spreading through drinking water. It is safe to continue using tap water for normal drinking, cooking, bathing, and hand washing. Also, the World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there is no evidence of COVID-19 infection through sewage. City staff will continue to focus on providing critical drinking water and wastewater services to our customers. For more information, visit the CDC, EPA, and WHO websites.

Other Impacts

As of today, 20 city workers are on leave. Because of privacy regulation, the City cannot release information about the employees. The City also follows the notification protocol and recommend precautions for isolation as set forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

McNickle said, “We realize how difficult this situation is and our thoughts and prayers are with our team members and their families who have tested positive or who may be in self-quarantine.”

Most City of Stillwater’s facilities are closed to the public, but many services, including those at the Stillwater Public Library, are still available by phone or email. The Convenience Collection Center, 807 S. Perkins Rd., is also open to the public.

The Municipal Building, 723 S. Lewis St., is open, but it is directing people to the Police Lobby to control the number of people who interact with staff at any one time.

City Council meetings are being broadcast via videoconferencing. Residents who wish to speak on an agenda topic may complete a “Request to Speak at City Council” form, which is available at stillwater.org. Meetings are streamed online on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CityOfStillwater and YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/c/CityofStillwaterTV/live .