PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Providence is planning to open some of its city buildings for the first time since March on Monday.
The reopening includes Providence City Hall, where the first in-person City Council meeting in months is scheduled Monday night. The Council Finance committee will meet about the budget proposal for next year.
The hearing was moved from June 9, when an attempt to take testimony over the Zoom video conference service resulted in racist trolls hijacking the meeting.
A city spokesperson says the meeting will be made available for the public to view on Zoom, but the city is asking residents who want to submit a public comment to do so in person in order to protect participants and listeners from hate speech.
Those interested in commenting on the budget are asked to sign up by 3 p.m. for a time slot. Residents can register on the City Clerk’s Website or by calling the Clerk’s office at (401) 680-5248.
Regardless of your assigned time slot for comment, you’re asked to line up at the Eddy Street entrance of City Hall at 4:45 p.m.
Before entering the building, individuals will have their temperature checked. If it’s greater than 101 degrees, residents will still be given the opportunity to provide a written testimony, but won’t be admitted into the building.
Those waiting to give public comment will have to wait in a specific area until called in.
Masks will also be required, even when testifying in front of a laptop which will be shown on Zoom. A city spokesperson says masks and hand sanitizer will be provided if needed.
Monday will also begin a new procedure of reopening the building at least four days a week, which includes a rotating schedule for staffers.
Employees will be split into two groups, either going into the office Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday. The building will be closed Wednesdays to clean in between both groups.
Departments will also be kept at half capacity to allow more social distancing.
Additionally, about 500 city workers are furloughed one or two days a week, and those employees will work remotely on the days they’re not in the building, or on furlough days.