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COVID-19: City adapting to keep core services & work functioning

For immediate release: March 31, 2020 - 4:00pm
FR20-1144

The City continues to make changes with its work plan so that it can deliver core services and keep other municipal business moving forward.

“We are into week three of our lives being transformed as we work to protect our community from the COVID-19 virus.  I want to thank everyone for your efforts as we each take this on together,” says Mayor Charlie Clark.

“It is so important right now to continue being vigilant in our physical distancing efforts. We also need to make sure we are all doing what we can to support our local economy and ensuring we have the right programs and processes in place to protect the most vulnerable in our community. This will keep everyone safe.”

City Manager Jeff Jorgenson says the pandemic has flipped everyday-life on its head.

“We have not experienced anything like the COVID-19 pandemic in our lifetimes. The past weeks have been a steep learning curve. COVID-19 has tested nations, governments, companies and organizations in every sector around the world.”

One of the biggest challenges for the City Jorgenson says, has been adjusting many of its employees to work from home and implementing new safety precautions in work environments where people need to be on location offering core services to our community.

“Our core services like water, sewer, fire protection, and electrical services are in great shape and we have layers of redundancy and employee protection in place to ensure our staff remain safe,” he says. “The City plays a critical role in providing many core services to the citizens of Saskatoon and we are very fortunate to have terrific people working throughout our organization.”

A great example of dedicated civic staff Jorgenson says, is the team at Roadways, Fleet & Support who are out today responding to the freezing rain and snow. The freezing rain started around 4 a.m. and with proactive planning to ensure a good start, the team had twelve sanders out when the rain began.

“This was a great response as always, while simultaneously following new physical distancing and equipment cleaning procedures,” Jorgenson adds. “This is yet another example of the dedication and professionalism that we see daily from City staff, including those who provide critical equipment maintenance and repair services.”

The Director of Emergency Management Organization says she continues to plan with many community partners about who needs information to stay healthy. Pamela Goulden-McLeod says youth, in particular, are a key focus.

“We will all have to work together across all age and social groups to tackle the virus. As the details of cases in our city and province have shown, COVID-19 can affect anyone at any age.”

Jorgenson acknowledges it hasn’t been an easy process also recognizing Saskatoon residents are balancing the changes happening within and beyond their homes as well.   

“I want to thank the citizens of Saskatoon for their understanding and patience. To all the people who work for the City, I again want to say how pleased and proud I am of their dedication to keep our core services running smoothly through the worst of what may lay ahead.”