Whitefish City Hall Closes to Public Due to COVID-19 Concerns

Temporary closure enacted to help slow spread of virus after employee tests positive

By Tristan Scott
Whitefish City Hall. Beacon file photo

The City of Whitefish closed its City Hall to the public this week after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The closure comes after city officials worked with the employee and the Flathead City-County Health Department to complete contact tracing and notify any other city employees who were at risk. Those employees have been directed to isolate at home and await further direction from the health department, according to Whitefish City Manager Dana Smith.

City officials learned late on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020 that an employee who last worked on Sept. 17 tested positive for COVID-19.

“Based on the duration of interactions with the public, the Plexiglas barriers, the mandatory use of face coverings, and frequent sanitization protocols, there is no increased risk to customers who visited City Hall between September 14th and September 17th,” according to a press release from the city.

To further protect the public and employees, however, City Hall will close until further notice starting Sept. 21, with the exception of the City Council meeting slated to take place that night.

“Out of an abundance of caution for the health and wellbeing of our customers and employees, as well as to allow employees to work remotely as much as possible, we have chosen to temporarily close City Hall,” Smith stated in the release. “With all potentially exposed employees isolating at home and a deep cleaning of City Hall scheduled for Sunday (Sept. 20), we will still hold the City Council meeting scheduled for Monday (Sept. 21) evening. At the meeting, the Council will consider an emergency ordinance to hold City Council and other board and committee meetings remotely.”

During the closure, all city services will remain available remotely, by phone or email. The vestibule at City Hall will be open for the public to drop off building plans or other applications. Payments may be mailed, dropped off in the payment drop box off of Baker Avenue, or made by credit card over the phone by calling (406) 863-2400 or online at cityofwhitefish.org.

“The health and safety of our customers and employees is our highest priority,” according to Smith. “We appreciate your understanding as we navigate these challenging times. Please remember to follow the guidance from the Health Department and the Governor’s directives to help us slow the spread of COVID-19.”

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