COVID Not Severely Impacting City’s Snow Removal
Only one of 12 city snowplow routes was impacted by fewer Public Works Department employees being available because of COVID-19.
On Tuesday, Jeff Lehman, city public works director, told The Post-Journal that luckily, at the start of the week, only two to three city employees were out because of COVID or because of quarantine restrictions when the snowstorm hit that covered the city late Sunday into Monday with more than a foot of snow. He said last week the department was down six employees.
“Fortunately by the time the snow got here most were back, with only two or three out at the time,” he said. “That made it somewhat more manageable. We are staffed enough to plow the 12 routes, with one route going unplowed until we could get to that route.”
Lehman said the routes take between eight to 12 hours depending on how much it is snowing at the time. He said the one route that couldn’t be completed right away was covered once an employee finished with their original course.
“The one route was unfilled so when guys finish other routes they fill that route,” he said.
Lehman said being down employees because of illness is nothing new and it happens every year. However, he said the quarantine time is a challenge.
“To lose anybody is an issue for us,” he said. “The quarantine time is killing us. Guys who are exposed can’t come in. Whether it’s been 10 days or five days, we’ve been able to maintain.”
So far, the city’s snow removal equipment hasn’t broken down following the storm.
“We have some minor things. Knock on wood, we are in pretty good shape,” he said. “We just sent out our sidewalk plow equipment and we’re holding our breath because it’s antique equipment.”
Lehman said city residents can help the city with snow removal as well.
“We need folks to get out and shovel their own sidewalks. The more we all pitch in the easier it is to get sidewalks opened up,” he said. “We all need to pitch in.”