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Tiny Township still in stage one of implementing its recovery framework

Staff is still dealing with measures included in stage one before it can move into stage two, says staff member
Brenda Biggs, IT/health and safety administrator for Tiny Township, presented to council where the municipality was in terms of ending remote work and opening municipal buildings to the public. Mehreen Shahid/MidlandToday

Should municipalities rush to reopen and then rush back to remote work?

That's the question staff are trying to answer by providing recovery frameworks to councils across North Simcoe.

One such plan was presented by Brenda Biggs, IT/health and safety administrator for Tiny Township, to council members at a committee of the whole meeting earlier this month.

"We don't call it a reopening," she said in an interview with MidlandToday. "We've been open all along. It's more of a recovery."

The township is in stage one, which started about five weeks ago and is behind the schedule the province is following, said Biggs.

"Every decision along the way for our recovery is in line with the province, WHO (World Health Organization) and the SMDHU (Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit)," she said. "We're always looking at those guidelines and looking at what they're suggesting, and everything changes continually." 

The township's stage one focused on ensuring a safe facility for staff and public, Biggs said.

"It's the tapes on the floor, guideliness for health and safety procedures. The disinfectants that you need, the PPE, and posters to remind staff," she said. "There's an intense list of stuff. We (also( have to look at all staff, whether they're in a building or out in the community."

It's been a huge challenge keeping township services in place and putting other protocols in action, said Biggs. 

And the reason Tiny is still in stage one of recovery is because there's so much to do, she added.

"It's overwhelming, the amount of stuff we have to cater for," Biggs said. "You have to look at all your touch points and ensure staff are aware of the protocols around it. Our building is old and so it's difficult for us to situate our staff following social distancing, as well as putting plexiglass in for our frontline staff, and deciding how many members of the public will be allowed in and who would continue working remotely."

Because the township is still wrapping up stage one, she said, there's no set date for when it will transition to stage two of recovery. 

"We want to make sure everything is in place for stage one," Biggs said. "We have a big challenge with the size of our facility and number of staff so there are a few things we have to look at. When all that is in place, we can look at what the rest for our services look like at this time."

Staff continues to provide services as best as they can, she said, adding that she hasn't heard any residents expressing any urgency for municipal buildings to reopen.

"If there's a question and concern from them, we're addressing that," Biggs said. "We never closed our doors to them that way. We've always been there and available to help the best way we can with respect to all the guidelines.The key message is we want to be prepared and staff to be safe so we can continue to provide services to residents."