July 1, 2020
RICHLAND TOWNSHIP REOPENING PLAN
Richland Township has been following guidelines from the Federal, State and County governments to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to promote the health and safety of the community.
As the phased reopening process in Allegheny County has moved from red to yellow and now to green, Township Officials have attempted to make reasonable and balanced decisions that are consistent with the guidelines issued by higher levels of government. Consistent with this approach, decisions have been made to reopen facilities where the risk of transmission appears to be low and to keep closed facilities and cancel events where transmission appears to be high. It must be acknowledged that some of the decisions will not be perfect. However, they are being made to promote the best interest of the community as a whole and are being implemented uniformly and consistently. Clearly, COVID-19 poses many new challenges.
This plan is intended to serve as a guide which will enable safeguards and procedures for the reopening of Township’s facilities with a focus on user and employee safety. The procedures may be updated as situations and guidance from government agencies changes. The threat posed by COVID-19, and the changes it has brought to our normal lives have been stressful for everyone. Ultimately, individuals must make their own personal decisions about the extent of their social interactions within the prescribed government guidelines. Your patience and understanding as Richland Township moves forward is greatly appreciated.
Administrative and Public Works Employee Staffing and Operations
Under Governor Wolf’s shelter-in-place order, municipal governments were considered essential services and could remain open. In order to ensure the continued availability of employees to perform Township work, a split shift and work-from-home strategy was implemented. Prior decisions pertaining to the acquisition of technology and equipment made it practical to continue operations remotely for eleven weeks. Township administrative employees kept weekly work logs documenting their work-from-home activities. They are to be commended for their work ethic which kept government services operating.
Public works employees continued to report to work throughout the various phases of the shutdown. During the yellow phase, office staff was limited to not more than three people in the office at the same time provided proper social distancing was maintained. On May 11, 2020 public works employees returned to their regular 40-hour week. They were assigned to staggered shifts and worked four 10-hour days. Beginning June 8, 2020, the municipal office was staffed Monday thru Friday 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. Employees who could perform their duties from home continued to do so. Essential in-person meetings are scheduled by appointment and personal protection equipment is required until conditions permit such meetings to be conducted safely.
- On June 8, 2020, the main entrance doors, at the front of the municipal building, were unlocked and open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The doors to lobby are locked and the public has only restricted access to the interior of the municipal building. Persons entering the vestibule are able to communicate by intercom with the receptionist. Tables are stationed in the vestibule for pickup and deliveries. No cash payments will be accepted. If necessary, the receptionist will provide access to the counters adjacent to the lobby. Business will be conducted through the windows at the receptionist’s work stations. Use of electronic applications and payments will be encouraged where possible. Persons entering the municipal building lobby will be required to register and to wear cloth masks.
- Essential in-person meetings are arranged by appointment and will only take place in the municipal building’s activity room where proper physical distancing is possible. Participants are required to register and to wear cloth masks. Group meetings of four persons or more, such as bid openings, will be held remotely by either conference call or virtual meeting applications such as Zoom meetings.
Planning Commission Meetings and the Zoning Hearing Board Meetings will either be conducted in-person or by Zoom meetings or a combination of both. When a Zoom meeting is scheduled notice will be provided and interested parties may submit written comments to the municipal building by 5 p.m. the day prior to the meeting. They may also join Zoom meeting by calling 301-715-8592 and entering the Meeting I.D. number, 698-843-9199 and Password: 100843
Richland Township Board of Supervisors meetings will be open to the public and may also be conducted via Zoom meetings. To participate call 301-715-8592 and enter the Meeting ID 698-843-9199 and the Password: 100843. During the Green Phase physical attendance will be limited to the first 25 persons who arrive at the municipal building. All persons attending the meeting will be required to register. Protective measures such as social distancing will be enforced, and the wearing of cloth masks will be strongly encouraged.
Barn and Family Pavilion Rentals
In accordance with Pennsylvania Reopening Guidelines, the following limits on capacity have been established.
- Barn Capacity – Not more than 67 persons.
- Family Pavilion Capacity – Not more than 70 persons.
COVID-19 Waiver and Commitment to Follow Health and Safety Guidelines
- All renters must complete official application forms, including a COVID-19 waiver and commit to following guidelines for COVID-19 Public Health and Safety Measures established by Richland Township. A copy of the waiver form and guidelines will be presented to all renters.
- To reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 from highly touched objects and surfaces, a sanitizing fee of $75.00 for barn rentals and $50.00 for pavilion rentals has been established. The fee is payable prior to the event. The fee will enable the Township to conduct a disinfecting procedure using EPA-Registered Disinfectants to eliminate COVID-19 from hi-touched surfaces and objects. The Township will conduct the sanitizing procedure in conjunction with the regular cleaning which takes place between rentals. The sanitizing component is particularly important in the case of rentals which take place on back-to-back dates.
- In order to provide sufficient time to perform increased cleaning and sanitizing, the rental hours for the use of the barn and pavilion have been reduced to 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- For renters who wish to cancel their reservation, a full refund will be issued upon submission of a refund request form provided it is received within fifteen (15) days prior to the scheduled event. Any request of less time will not be honored.
Playgrounds, Picnic Shelters, Restrooms and Splash Pad
- All playgrounds and picnic shelters are open for general use provided social distancing and personal protective equipment guidelines are followed. These facilities will not be disinfected. Visitors should use the facilities at their own risk.
- Restrooms in the park will be opened conditioned upon the Township’s ability to sanitize the hi-touched surfaces in compliance with guidelines prescribed by the CDC and State Health Department.
- The splash pad will remain closed until further notice due to the Township’s inability to enforce social distancing guidelines prescribed by the CDC and State Health Department.
Dek-Hockey/Field Usage & Youth/Adult Athletic Programs
The Dek-hockey rink and athletic fields in Richland Park are open for individuals, members of the same household, and small groups provided social distancing and protective equipment guidelines are followed. These facilities will not be disinfected. Visitors should use the facilities at their own risk.
Organized team sports, including practices, games, pick up games and clinics are not allowed at these facilities without obtaining a use permit from Richland Township. Applicants must sign a COVID-19 waiver, submit a COVID-19 safety plan and commit to following COVID-19 health and safety guidelines established by the Federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Use of the facilities must adhere to the guidelines contained in the Pennsylvania Recreation & Park Society’s publication titled “PRPS Reopening Guidelines May 23, 2020”.
Richland Township Recreation Activities – Community Day
- All Township sponsored recreation programs and classes are canceled until further notice.
- Richland Township’s 2020 Community Day Celebration scheduled for August 8, 2020 has been cancelled.
AMENDMENT TO GENERAL EMPLOYEE
COVID-19 SAFETY PLAN
Office Practice and Employee Etiquette
- Stay home when sick
- When reporting to work follow Richland Township COVID-19 Safety Plan
- Wear a cloth mask when entering or exiting the building
- Maintain at least six feet distance from other employees.
- Wear a cloth mask when passing or entering another employee’s work area or at any time when you are within six feet of another person.
- Practice respectful etiquette within common areas; kitchen, work room, file rooms and cabinets, restrooms, conference rooms, vestibules and library.
- EVERYONE CLEANS!!! Wipe handles, equipment, file drawers and all other touched surfaces after every use.
- Do not share or use anyone else’s equipment. If you have to use someone’s equipment, please clean it with disinfecting wipes when finished.
- Do not drink from water fountains , filling of drinking glasses is permitted.
- Do not use coffee machine.
- Do not bring food items to the office to share.
- The refrigerator in the activity room has been turned off. The refrigerator in the kitchen may be used to store sealed food items for individual consumption.
- Open windows for ventilation.
- The type of air filters within the heat pumps at the municipal building will be modified and changed more frequently.
- All in-person meetings outside of the office, including seminars, conferences, COG and professional gatherings are suspended until further notice. The Township Manager may approve attendance at small in-person meetings where social distancing and COVID-19 guidelines are followed.