Aerial view of Kitimat. (District of Kitimat/Wikimedia Commons)

95 per cent of Public Works employees back to work

District of Kitimat says it is continuously reassessing work conditions

It may still be a bit before you can use most of their facilities again, but the District of Kitimat says 95 per cent of its employees have returned to work amid a four-stage easing of restrictions currently underway within the province.

The District said the 5 per cent that have not returned are at home due to being identified as high-risk for implications from the virus. Even with workers back in the office, things are not necessarily back to business as usual, with a number of enhanced sanitary measures in place to lower the risk of transmission of the virus.

This includes staggered shifts for employees to limit the number of people at the District’s Public Works facility at any given time, with some employees heading directly to respective job sites versus reporting to the facility. When work vehicles are used, the District permits only one employee to travel in regular cab trucks, and two employees to travel in crew cab trucks seated as far apart as possible. At the facility, all employees have been trained on and are practicing social distancing guidelines put in place by the Province.

READ MORE: District of Kitimat shutters offices, recreation facilities

“The District of Kitimat is engaged in ongoing hazardous workplace assessments to provide a safe work environment for all of our employees,” a response to the Kitimat Northern Sentinel reads. “[We] will continue to monitor and reassess safe work conditions as coronavirus circumstances evolve.

The District has currently re-opened both its off-leash dog park and tennis court to the public. It’s unclear what the timeline is for the further reopening of facilities. Most provincial parks will re-open in time for the May 24 long weekend, according to a recent release from BC Parks, however overnight camping at these locations will not be permitted until June 1. Currently camping on Crown Land is permitted, provided it is not accessed through established BC Parks trail systems.

In a April 30 update on COVID-19 to the public Kitimat mayor Phil Germuth said they would be closely monitoring the situation to decide when more facilities can be opened, but added it will only be done when it is “safe to do so”.

“The District will closely monitor announcements and ensure our community is ready for the next phase,” said Germuth. “As we talk about returning to a more normal day-to-day life we need to recognize it is up to all of us to continue adhering to the recommendations to keep our communities safe and ensure we can move towards a more normalized reality.”
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