COVID-19 case closes Whitefish City Hall

COVID-19 case closes Whitefish City Hall
Posted at 7:56 AM, Sep 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-21 16:47:59-04

Whitefish City Hall has been closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

City officials were notified late on Friday, Sept. 18, that an employee -- who last worked at City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 17 had tested positive for coronavirus.

The city is working with the individual and the Flathead City-County Health Department to perform contact tracing, according to a news release.

All city employees considered close contacts were notified Friday evening and directed to isolate themselves at home until hearing from the health department.

City officials say that "based on the duration of interactions with the public, the Plexiglas barriers, the mandatory use of face coverings, and frequent sanitization protocols," there's no increased risk to people who visited City Hall between Sept. 14 and Sept. 17,

Whitefish City Hall will close until further notice starting Monday with the exception of the City Council meeting on Monday that starts at 7:10 p.m.

"Out of an abundance of caution for the health and well-being 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," said City Manager Dana Smith.

"With all potentially exposed employees isolating at home and a deep cleaning of City Hall scheduled for Sunday, we will still hold the City Council meeting scheduled for Monday evening," Smith added.

All City services will remain available remotely, by phone or email while Whitefish City Hall is closed.

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 Baker Avenue, or made by credit card over the phone by calling (406) 863-2400 or online.

"The health and safety of our customers and employees is our highest priority," said Smith. "We appreciate your understanding as we navigate these challenging times."

Smith told MTN News on Monday that city council members will vote Monday on an emergency ordinance that would move all city council, board and committee meetings remotely.

“That was actually planned in advance of this positive case, but it does show the need for us to be able to meet remotely as cases in the valley have significantly increased over the last week,” said Smith.

If passed, the emergency ordinance for remote meetings would be in effect for 90 days.