ST. GEORGE — The Ivins City Council set a firm date for the reopening of its City Hall during its meeting Thursday evening, as well as continuing to set the pace for the construction of the new City Hall.
The council agreed to the reopening of Ivins City Hall on June 1, but they will require masks for residents wanting to do business inside. The city will have masks on hand for those who do not have them.
“I think it’s fair for us to require anyone coming into City Hall to wear a mask,” Mayor Chris Hart said during the council meeting, which was still held over the Zoom app.
The move drew no objection from council members, though council member Dennis Mehr asked that masks be provided for those who do not have them.
“We should provide it,” Mehr said. “We can set a standard, but not deny people.”
While the council members were attending the meeting remotely from different sites, a protest against measures taken by government bodies concerning the coronavirus was taking place in the parking lot of Ivins City Hall.
The protest wasn’t mentioned during the meeting; however, Hart did bring up the issue of those refusing to wear masks as a preventative measure. Even in the milder yellow alert stage that Southern Utah entered May 14, the state still recommends masks be worn when social distancing is not possible to protect high-risk individuals.
“We have those who refuse to do it, but you’re protecting yourself and others if you do it,” Hart said, adding that as a high-risk individual himself, he will be wearing a mask when the council resumes meetings at City Hall.
City Hall has been closed except for select appointments since March 20 as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus.
Under the yellow risk status, all city offices are recommended to be opened with precautions in place. City Manager Dale Coulam said the reason for the wait until June 1 is that preparations still need to be made inside City Hall.
“There might be a little frustration that now that we are in yellow we should be reopening City Hall, but staff would prefer plexiglass shields in place,” Coulam said.
During the meeting, the council also touched on the construction of a new City Hall as the mid-June deadline is approaching to have funding in place to begin construction. The new facility will be built on the location of the parking lot of the present City Hall, and construction is scheduled to begin in September.
The council unanimously approved setting a $3.5 million amount to apply for a loan to partially fund the new City Hall, though the loan is considered a back-up measure if the sale of city property designed to mostly fund the new facility does not go through.
The vote was just for the application – not necessarily the approval of going through with one. And several council members expressed apprehension about going through with such a loan if the sale of city property does not go through.
“I have a hard time justifying the building of a new city hall without the sale of this property,” council member Sue Gordhammer said.
The council will be looking at revised architectural designs of the new City Hall at their next meeting on June 4, which will include some council members in the council chambers and some who will continue to attend remotely.
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