Mission eyes next week for reopening of city facilities

Mission city officials are eyeing a May 18 reopening of their city offices with several safety measures in place.

The city council approved a plan to reopen the city facilities during a city council meeting Monday that will continue to implement certain safety measures such as social distancing and the use of face masks.

“While the office of the governor has lifted some restrictions concerning essential and nonessential businesses, the city of Mission will remain conservative and vigilant toward the protection of our citizens and employees,” City Manager Randy Perez told the council during the meeting.

City employees and citizens entering any city facilities will be required to wear face coverings at all times, Perez said, adding that city departments will be encouraged to continue conducting business online or over the phone.

Each department, however, will have their own approach when it comes to reopening.

Departments located within city hall will have screenings of citizens who come in, Perez said, and the number of people reporting to the city secretary’s office will be limited in order to limit the number of people in the lobby.

For the acquisition of birth or death certificates, the city will continue providing those services via drive-thru, and the city’s planning department will continue issuing permits by appointment.

After each appointment, Perez added, the counters will be sanitized.

He also requested from the council that the lobby for their utility department remain closed for the next couple of weeks.

“We average anywhere from 100 to 150 citizens in our lobby,” Perez said regarding the utility department, “therefore we want to continue with the drive-thru services for that department just because of the interaction that we have.”

However, they are preparing to open at a limited capacity, if needed, he said.

At the police department, people do have access to the lobby though there is now a glass barrier in place for precaution.

The city’s parks department will continue operating by appointment as well; however, there are currently no plans to open the playgrounds.

At the end of the month, Perez said they will revisit the matter of the Boys & Girls Club summer program which usually begins on June 1.

If the city decides to hold the summer program, Perez said, it will likely be delayed.

Among the factors that will help determine is the daily number of COVID-19 cases that are reported for the city.

“We do want to take a very conservative approach on those facilities and of course with the priority of the safety of our citizens and our children with the Boys and Girls Club,” Perez said.

The city council was all on board with the plan and unanimously approved Perez’s request.

“I think it’s a good plan,” Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña said. “It is a conservative plan so I think we need to move forward based on the data that we have, specifically for the city of Mission as far as the COVID-19 data we have received.”