Mt. Lebanon Municipal Building

Mt. Lebanon is working with a nationwide service in the municipality’s return to some semblance of normalcy as COVID-19 restrictions start to ease.

“As we start to reopen and transition employees and the public back to the spaces, we’re doing that in as safe a manner as possible,” municipal manager Keith McGill said Tuesday during a Mt. Lebanon Commission discussion session held virtually and made available on video the following day.

The municipality has retained the services of Beaver-based MAC Safety Consultants Inc., which specializes in workplace safety across multiple industries. Owner Chris Miranda has visited Mt. Lebanon to start assessing the situation.

“He’s looking at the opportunities for social-distancing practices. He’s evaluating and providing cleaning guidelines and protocols,” McGill said. “He’s assessing our work spaces, themselves, and then helping as develop a sort of preparedness plan to have in place.”

The discussion session took place prior to Allegheny County’s May 15 move to the “yellow” phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s reopening plan, and a substantial portion of the meeting addressed transition plans in Mt. Lebanon.

“There’s still additional guidance that’s coming from a number of different agencies statewide, and we’ll be staying on top of that,” assistant municipal manager Ian McMeans said.

In the meantime, officials are developing plans to safely accommodate employees and members of the public at the municipal building, public safety center and other venues, including Mt. Lebanon Public Library.

Under review moving forward are work areas and gathering areas, including assessing needs for physical barriers and the means to provide safe distancing. Other considerations include cleaning and disinfecting practices, and monitoring the demand for protective personal equipment in various municipal departments.

“Additional signage is going to be very important,” McMeans said, “both for directing our employees as far as what the new norms and procedures will be, and for directing members of the public.”

Also regarding people who work for the municipality, officials are looking into various options to help ensure safety.

“We already have a number of employees who have been able to work from home or work remotely,” McMeans reported. “But some jobs just aren’t conducive to that, obviously. So maybe we have to explore certain things like flexible hours schedule, having employees work in shifts, things like that.”

As far as the library, officials are awaiting guidance from the state Office of Commonwealth Libraries and Allegheny County Library Association. McMeans said the municipality has received some correspondence from the latter.

“They’re probably not going to be able to get their system of book distribution back up and running until sometime in mid-June at the absolute earliest,” he said. “We have our collection at the Mt. Lebanon library, but also you have access through that to other collections, and there’s a lot of book sharing.”

He also spoke about the next step in the reopening process, whenever that occurs.

“As we move forward into the ‘green’ phase, hopefully we’re able to do some openings of the rest of our municipal facilities, whether that’s accepting walk-ins at our municipal building or opening up meeting rooms in the building,” McMeans said. “We’re going to have to continually evaluate and assess those areas as far as the cleaning practices and what social distancing may be necessary.”

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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