18 city employees earn disinfection technique certificates
By John Mullen
Gulf Shores recognized 18 city employees who completed certification on proper cleaning and disinfection techniques to fight the spread of COVID-19. The training, at $100 per employee was done through GreenCo of Foley and Columbia Southern in Orange Beach.
The certification program focuses on identifying and thoroughly cleaning high-touch surfaces to ensure that when the public enters a facility, they feel safe and assured that the location has been disinfected to reduce the likelihood of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These benefits include:
• Providing standardized training and education for all employees cleaning the establishment.
• Demonstrating to employees and the public that organizations are committed to their health and safety.
• Providing customers with assurance that the facility has been thoroughly cleaned.
• Ensuring that customers feel confident to enter the facility.
“That’s what we really wanted to hit home hard with to make sure that we’re doing it right and that everything that we’re doing is safe,” Assistant Public Works Director Noel Hand said.
Mayor Robert Craft praised those who received the training certification.
“We decided to have our staff participate in this program to ensure city facilities were as clean and safe as possible for our residents and visitors in preparation for when the governor lifted restrictions,” Craft said. “I am extremely proud to see how our staff has implemented these practices as we continue to open up our facilities to public access.”
Those certified from Public Works Custodial Department are Gary Ross, Christina Wall, Barbara Conner, Isadore Ervin, Noelle Cornely, James Stevenson, James Stacey, Brittany Diem, Debbie Knighten and Noel Hand.
Those receiving certification from Parks and Recreation Department are Charles Phipps, Brad Pethel, Lyubov Tozier, Randall Carlson, Jeff Hopkins, Ken Ard, Jennifer Morgan and Grant Brown.
“I’d like to recognize them for going above and beyond,” Hand said. “We felt it was really important for everyone to have a good understanding of cleaning these facilities above and beyond and get that to all of our staff members and employees to be able to go behind ourselves and be able to go behind patrons to make sure it’s high-end cleaning for disinfecting.”
The city recognized the employees during the June 8 combined council regular session and work session at Erie Meyer Civic Center. During the meeting Recreation and Cultural Affairs Director Grant Brown also gave a timeline on the city’s action of first closing and then reopening the city’s facilities during the past few weeks.
“We are nowhere near finished dealing with the pandemic and the problems associated with it,” Brown said. “Starting on March 13 we started understanding that something was in our country, California and Washington areas of our country started to have significant influxes of this COVID-19 and significant problems associated with it. Gary Ross and I along with other folks in our purchasing department very quickly started to look for hand sanitizing dispensers knowing there would be a run on these types of machines and equipment that are necessary in order to be able to provide these sanitizing stations.”
The city began closing facilities the public would interact with most on March 18.
“The facilities that were closed first were those that invited the public in in order to participate in programs or take advantage of opportunities that the city provides,” Brown said.
“We changed how we provided services to the public,” Brown said. “We didn’t close facilities but we did restrict them so no public access was allowed. It was truly amazing how quickly we were able to adapt to this online type of business. I think after we’re through all this and COVID is hopefully gone we will have gained an awful lot of knowledge both in technology as we’re using today to stream these meetings today to Facebook and others. And use the public input portion. But also, how we could more efficiently do our jobs with city workers and city employees.”
Gulf Shores closed all city-owned beaches and Gov. Ivey closed all Alabama beaches on March 19. That same week, the city moved to virtual online meetings as large public gatherings were prohibited.
“Even though we have an audience today I’m hoping the public will still be able to tune in and watch it on Facebook and this will be stored and saved on Facebook so this presentation can be seen later,” Brown said. “We’ll have an opportunity to give more of a feeling of what the city does on a regular basis and how the mayor and council interact and the decisions that are made that really affect their lives.”
With facilities closed, Brown said the city was also able to easier work on several projects during the weeks of the shutdown.
Projects undertaken during pandemic included:
• Sportsplex shade sails
• School landscape irrigation
• Parking lot striping
• West 13th Street beach access
• Repaired Gulf Place concrete boardwalk
• Re-oiled wood at Gulf Place restrooms
• Deep cleaning of beach from Gulf State Park to Laguna Key
• West Lagoon Avenue resurfacing and pathway
• Coastal Gateway Boulevard construction.
The city allocated about $355,000 to redo surfaces around the pool at the Bodenhamer Recreation Center during the shutdown. The pool remains temporarily closed to complete expedited deck renovations.
“This is a fantastic project that’s long overdue if you’ve been to our pool and now we’re excited to jumpstart it and get it going a little sooner than we expected,” Brown said.
Gulf Shores also made improvements to its well used Adult Activity Center and the dog park across the street.
“Now we have a brand-new commercial prep kitchen for people when they come back and start utilizing the Activity Center. The bridge at the dog park had significant rot and that was completely renovated and repaired and replaced.”
Brown said crews had unfettered access to Gulf Place in repairing a cracked concrete boardwalk while the area was off-limits to the public.
Pictured: Brad Pethtel was among the 18 GS employees recently certified on proper cleaning and disinfection techniques