Effective immediately, the Amherst town hall and Amherst Stadium will be closed to the public until further notice.
The move is in response to rising cases of COVID-19 in Nova Scotia and the announcement by the provincial government on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, of a provincewide lockdown.
“The safety of the public and our employees is our No. 1 concern,” Mayor David Kogon said in making the announcement on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.
“By temporarily restricting access to a number of town facilities we hope to do our part to slow the progress of the virus and limit the opportunity for transmission.”
In complying with the new public health orders, the town is also having several of its employees work from home, Interim CAO Jason MacDonald said.
While the town hall is closed, its main reception line – 902-667-3352 – will continue to monitored during normal business hours, which are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Services will also be provided via Zoom and in some cases by appointment.
People wishing to pay tax and other bills are reminded they can pay those bills via the internet or through most banking institutions.
The closure of the stadium means there is no access to the walking track and the ice will be removed, marking the end of the hockey and skating season.
The public spaces at the Community Credit Union Business Innovation Centre will also be closed. People should check with the centre’s various tenants to see what their protocols are during the lockdown.
As another precaution, building inspections and in-building water and sewer services conducted by town employees will be by appointment only. Adherence to COVID-19 protocols will also be continued. Appointments can be arranged by calling the main reception line.
The interviews for Summer Student positions with the town will continue via Zoom. Applicants will be contacted with a time for their interview. A decision on the timing and extent of the hiring will be made at a later date.
The town also plans to continue with the recent Recreational and Public Works seasonal call back of employees.
All other town services will be maintained. That means the Amherst Police Department, the Amherst Fire Department and the Public Works Department will continue to operate as normal in order to maintain the essential services they provide.
The public spaces at the Amherst Fire Hall and the Amherst Police Department will remain closed to the public, as they have been since the pandemic began more than a year ago.
Unlike in previous lockdowns caused by the pandemic, the town’s parks and trails will remain open to the public. However, the town asks that people follow the COVID-19 protocols of physical distancing and wearing masks while using those facilities.
“While we regret having to make these provisions and acknowledge they will create some inconvenience, they are necessary steps in helping to keep our community healthy,” Kogon said. “We ask for your patience and support at this time.”