Milton begins phased reopening of city facilities, operations starting May 20

Milton City Council members approved the city's phased reopening plan May 18. (Screenshot via Zoom)
Milton City Council members approved the city's phased reopening plan May 18. (Screenshot via Zoom)

Milton City Council members approved the city's phased reopening plan May 18. (Screenshot via Zoom)

Residents of the city of Milton can expect to see a phased reopening of the city in the coming months following a unanimous vote from Milton City Council at a May 18 meeting to approve a phased reopening plan.

In conjunction with the phased reopening plan, council members also approved the extension of the ordinance declaring a state of emergency for the city—with a few adjustments—from May 20 through June 12.

In the initial ordinance, all public hearings, zoning and regulatory agencies as well as public policy and visioning functions of council were all halted due to the shift from in-person to remote work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Milton City Attorney Ken Jarrard said during the meeting. The newly passed extension of the ordinance removes those restrictions and replaces them with those of the phased reopening plan.

The new plan also allows for enhanced flexibility for members of the public to engage with council members. For example, citizens can email questions or comments to council and have them be read into the record at a City Council meeting, even if the citizen is not in physical attendance at the meeting.

The phased reopening plan is as follows.

  • Phase One

    • Continue use of web-based and remote city services

    • Continue teleworking wherever practical

    • Stagger staffing at City Hall

    • Limit gatherings of employees

    • Resume council, board and committee meetings in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations and state requirements

    • Begin reopening parks activities within CDC guidelines and state requirements

    • Continue screening and health reporting requirements for staff and city officials

    • Continue closure to the public of back-office areas of city facilities

    • Make accommodations for at-risk employees as practicable

  • Phase Two

    • Increase in-person activity at City Hall with social distancing, use of masks, enhanced cleaning and space and/or facility modifications

    • Encourage continued use by the public of web-based and remote services

    • Keep meetings among staff small, socially distanced and with enhanced cleaning and masks as guidelines require

    • Conduct meetings between staff and public by appointment, following state requirements and CDC guidelines

    • Continue increase in parks and recreation offerings at city facilities

    • Keep core facilities closed to the public

    • Make accommodations for at-risk employees as practicable

  • Phase Three:

    • Resume city eventswith enhanced cleaning, public signage encouraging hygiene and limited social distancing measures

    • Continue with enhanced cleaning and health precautions at city facilities

    • Make accommodations for at-risk employees as appropriate for continued provision of services

    • Resume normal City Hall operations with enhanced hygiene and cleaning procedures in place

    • Conduct routinely all city meetings and staff-citizen meetings with enhanced cleaning and personal hygiene procedures

    • Reopen core facilities to the public with controlled access, enhanced cleaning and personal hygiene and limited social distancing

  • Phase Four

    • Return to unrestricted, routine operations

Each phase of the plan will continue so long as no issues arise from a previous phase and no spike in COVID-19 cases occurs during that time, Milton Fire Marshal Matt Marietta said during the meeting.

Phase One can begin May 20 with the goal of starting Phase Two on June 12, which coincides with the expiration of the state public health emergency.

"We will, in effect, be attempting to sort of rev back up that engine of government in Milton. I'm not going to say to normalcy; I'm not suggesting that. But we are attempting to go ahead and try to resume some effort of normalcy with respects to how we begin to legislate [and] how we begin to administrate regulatory action," Jarrard said during the meeting.

Additionally, the ordinance extends through June 12 the sale of to-go beer and wine at restaurants, the sale of prepared meals for pickup and delivery under certain conditions from event facilities and caterers, the renewals occupational tax certificates and the payment of alcohol excise taxes.
By Kara McIntyre
Kara started with Community Impact Newspaper as the summer intern for the south Houston office in June 2018 after graduating with a bachelor's degree in mass communication from Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas. She became the reporter for north Houston's Tomball/Magnolia edition in September 2018, moving to Alpharetta in January 2020 after a promotion to be the editor of the Alpharetta/Milton edition, which is Community Impact's first market in Georgia.