CHARLESTOWN — Charlestown City Hall reopened to the public Monday as the community spread of COVID-19 decreases.
Both Clark and Floyd counties have seen a significant drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations recently, and the counties have both been downgraded to the “yellow” category on the state’s color-coded COVID-19 map.
Charlestown also will resume in-person public meetings starting with the March 1 council meeting, but the live stream will remain available.
Social distancing measures and masks covering the mouth and nose are still required at city hall.
In December, Charlestown City Hall moved to appointment-only due to a surge in COVID-19 cases, and staff worked remotely or in alternating shifts.
Charlestown Mayor Treva Hodges said she feels “optimistic” as she sees the decrease in COVID-19 numbers.
“I think it’s a good sign,” she said. “I don’t want to encourage people to go nuts, but it just shows that what we are doing is working. It looks like that vaccine counts are really strong, and that’s great. The more people who get vaccinations the better.”
The city will be moving ahead with spring programming such as its Easter egg hunt, which will be adapted to include various safety protocols, according to Hodges.
Hodges said she looks forward to resuming in-person meetings.
“It makes it a whole lot easier when you have your council members and your board members in-person,” she said. “It’s a challenge, because you do the Zoom meeting and then you have to chase them down and get signatures. They still have to come in and sign these documents.”
The city still will be flexible in allowing people to work remotely when needed, Hodges said. She hopes that having people back in the office setting on a regular basis will bring back “the promptness that we like to respond to people with.”
Carrie Prince, a receptionist at Charlestown City Hall, said she is happy to be back in the office five days a week. When the staff was alternating days, it was often like a “ghost town,” she said.
“I feel like it gives us some kind of normalcy,” she said.
Utility Clerk Dorothea Gomez has been working in the office every other day, but she is now back to a regular schedule at city hall.
“It’s nice coming back — I hope this is a good direction and that we stay in this direction,” she said. “It’s nice to get back on track and get in the swing of things. You can do so much more here than you can from home.”