The city of Alpharetta is implementing a phased plan for restoring its operations and will begin reopening some public facilities Friday, May 15.
The city closed most of its facilities and has had most non-essential employees working remotely since March 15 as it responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve and makes it difficult to set hard deadlines for returning all of our operations to normal, we have created a plan that establishes benchmarks to be met in order to return our employees to the workplace, open specific facilities and restart some of our activities and programs,” Alpharetta Mayor Jim Gilvin said. “Those benchmarks ensure that we will move through each phase of the plan only as we can reasonably ensure the safety of the public and our employees.”
The benchmarks are based upon current guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health agencies. They include items such as the ability to ensure social distancing, availability of critical cleaning supplies and sanitizers, as well as having safety protocols in place.
Beginning Friday, May 15 the following City of Alpharetta parks facilities will reopen to the public, provided that appropriate social distancing and other CDC guidelines are followed:
♦ Tennis and pickleball courts
♦ Athletic fields for non-organized play
♦ Youth sports organizations may hold tryouts and/or skill drills on athletic fields upon submitting a COVID-19 plan and receiving a permit from the City
♦ Waggy World Dog Park
♦ All outdoor restrooms (i.e. restrooms not located inside another facility)
“We feel that beginning use of our ball fields and other athletic facilities is appropriate now that we are better able to put safety protocols in place and better promote social distancing and other guidelines being followed,” Gilvin said. “For this to work, however, we need and are counting on the public to follow those guidelines, act responsibly, and do their part to help protect the health and safety of each other.”
Beginning on Monday, May 18 Alpharetta will reopen the lobbies of City Hall and the Department of Public Safety to the public. This will include the permit windows in the Department of Community Development and the City Hall cashiers window. To protect the public and city employees, temporary plexiglass shields have been installed in these locations and the temperatures of employees and the public will be taken using no-contact thermometers when they enter the facilities. Anyone registering a temperature of 100.4 or greater will not be allowed to remain in the building.
The Alpharetta City Council Meeting on May 18 will see elected officials physically return to the Council chambers. The City has been conducting its meetings virtually since late March. The public will also be able to physically attend the meeting but residents are still encouraged to participate virtually because seating will be very limited due to social distancing requirements. The council chambers typically seat 120 audience members but will have a capacity of only 22 to ensure appropriate spacing between members of the public.
If the State determines that Georgia has fulfilled the Stage 2 criteria defined in the Federal Opening Up America Again Plan, the City of Alpharetta will continue opening public facilities. On Tuesday, May 26, LApharetta would open the Alpharetta Community Center, Alpharetta Arts Center and the Wills Park Recreation Center. On Monday, June 1, playgrounds (with on-site staff monitoring), Picnic pavilions (no reservations, small groups only) and the Alpharetta History Museum would reopen.
Athletic fields for organized use by Youth Organizations and/or rentals will be availble upon submission of a proper COVID-19 plan and issuance of a permit by the city. Residents would also be permitted to rent the Wills Park Equestrian Center upon submission of a proper COVID-19 plan and issuance of a permit by the city.
City officials indicate that they may open some day and summer camp programs under modified conditions as early as June 1, if the State has satisfied the Phase 2 gating criteria defined in the Federal plan and they feel confident that appropriate safety protocols are in place. Additional City of Alpharetta recreation facilities and programs could open later in the month if those requirements are met.
“It is important that we begin to return to normal operations, but our first priority will always be the safety of the public and our employees,” Gilvin said. “We understand and appreciate the diversity of opinions and comfort levels regarding reopening parks, public facilities, and business operations.”