WESTFIELD – Mayor Donald F. Humason Jr. has announced that City Hall has reopened to the public as of April 20, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the side door to the parking lot will be unlocked.
“I feel like we’re ready. Our cases are down,” Humason said. He said a couple of weeks ago the city experienced a bump in cases which put off the opening a few weeks.
“We’re going to have a police officer there answering questions if they want to know what office to go to pay a bill,” he said, adding there will be limits on the number of people that can come into an office, some of which are small spaces, at any one time. He said a queue may form outside the office.
Visitors are asked to wear a mask, and hand sanitizing stations will be available throughout the building,
“The public is welcome, but we’re asking people only to come if they have business to transact in the building,” Humason said. He also encouraged residents if they have business they can do through the “normal” way of the past year online or by using the drop box, to continue to do so.
“We’ve really done a good job over this past year to serve people without having them need to come to City Hall,” he said, giving the example of residents being able to buy transfer station passes at the Big Y Courtesy Desk. “That’s going to continue anyway, it’s fairly convenient, they can pick it up while shopping,” he added.
As for meetings being held in person, Humason said, “not yet. There is still the issue with technology. Even though we can probably fit the School Committee in the chamber, it would be difficult to cover people in the chamber and at home at the same time.”
He said the same is true with the City Council, if a couple of members want to stay home. “We’re probably going to get there at some point,” he said, adding that he is hoping once the city gets back to meeting in person, people who can’t make it will still be able to zoom in.
“After the pandemic is over, we’re going to continue with a lot of the things we learned to do technologically speaking, because it makes it more convenient for people to access their government,” Humason said.
He also said that he hopes people returning from school vacation won’t increase the number of COVID-19 cases in the city. “We can always pivot if we need to, be flexible and change things,” Humason said.