City of Whiting Coronavirus Update

BE SMART, STAY HOME AND STAY SAFE
WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS TOGETHER

Revised: April 2, 2020

As a way to keep the residents of Whiting informed about the Coronavirus
Pandemic and how it directly impacts Whiting, I will do my best
to keep this page updated with pertinent information. – Mayor Joe

Resources:

Note: During the Governor’s “Stay at Home” directive, the non-emergency phones in City Hall and the Public Works Facility are not being manned as they normally would.  Here are some tips that will be helpful to our staff during this emergency:

  • Please pay your utility bills by check and either mail it in or place it in the City Hall Dropbox located at the sidedoor.
  • Please postpone all calls that aren’t an important call for service.  This would include parking complaints, nuisance complaints, non-emergency animal complaints, etc.
  • Leave a message.  Our staff will be answering the voicemails as time permits and they will be routed to the proper department for resolution.
  • Use the City’s 311 app.  These inquiries get directly routed to the proper department without the need for another employee’s interaction.

April 2, 2020 – Actions Taken:

  • Governor announces all Indiana Schools will be closed through this semester.
  • Mayor Joe officially cancels or delays all City events through June 30th.
  • Lake County Health officials have instructed all non-essential businesses to keep their business doors closed during the Governor’s Order.  All non-essential businesses must have a sign on the door saying they are closed to the public.  If they are providing curbside pick-up, all financial transactions should be handled remotely by phone or online.  Businesses that are classified as Essential Businesses are LISTED HERE.

March 31, 2020 – Actions Taken:

  • Mayor Joe wants to remind everyone that the Governor’s “Stay at Home” directive has ordered all City Playgrounds to be closed until further notice.  City Park pathways and walkways will remain open as long as “Social Distancing” practices are adhered to.  The Governor’s Order for “Outdoor Activity is as follows:
    • It is acceptable to engage in outdoor activity, provided that they comply with “Social Distancing” requirements such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, running, or biking.  Individuals may go to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas,  However, public access playgrounds may increase the spread of Covid-19, and therefore shall be closed.

March 30, 2020 – Actions Taken:

  • The Whiting Redevelopment Commission and the Whiting City Council officially approved an Emergency Economic Stimulus Package to support our local businesses.  The Plan was drafted with the intention of injected much needed capital into the business district immediately.  Mayor Joe with the help of Clerk-Treasurer Haynes, redirected existing funds away from Special Events and other Grants to make this happen.  The program summary can be reviewed by CLICKING HERE.

March 28, 2020 – Actions Taken:

  • Mayor Joe offers to assist Whiting residents who cannot leave their homes or are ill during the Coronavirus Emergency.  If you are in need of NON-EMERGENCY assistance, please call City Hall at 659-7700 and leave a message and a return phone number.  While the City is currently operating at only partial staffing levels, we will do everything possible to assist as promptly as possible where we legally can.  Please call 911 for all EMERGENCIES.

March 27, 2020 – Actions Taken:

  • All City employees, even those who have been asked to work reduced schedules or whose jobs were shutdown/eliminated due to the Coronavirus emergency, will continue to be paid their normal salaries until further notice.  All affected employees also have the option to file for enhanced Unemployment Insurance Benefits.
  • Mayor Joe is engaged in discussions to identify and then hire a financial advisor to assist the business community with identifying and applying for any available financial aid or loans being made available from the Federal Government’s Stimulus package via the Small Business Administration (SBA).   This will be done at the City’s expense. The goals would be to:
    • Have a single point of contact for all businesses who feel they need assistance
    • Streamline a likely difficult process
    • Identify reimbursement for the City for expenses incurred addressing the Pandemic.
  • City distributes list of restaurants who are providing carryout services to the community and to local industries.
  • Mayor temporarily suspends new hiring due to the State’s “Stay at Home” directive.  The original intention was to hire local workers displaced by the restaurant/bar closure order to assist with the Lakefront Park clean-up, but the “Stay at Home” Order will prevent the City from doing that at this time

March 26, 2020 – Actions Taken:

  • Mayor instructs WPD to monitor unacceptable gatherings of 10 people or more in our Parks.  He also has instructed the WPD to monitor illegal openings of bars and/or clubs.
  • Mayor Joe made the decision to continue with the 119th Street Construction Project.
    Read his Bulletin explaining the decision by CLICKING HERE.
  • City will temporarily delay all water shutoffs related to billing delinquencies.

March 23, 2020 – Actions Taken:

  • Mayor preparing to comply with the Governor’s ”Stay at Home” order which will idle all non-critical city services.  Minimal Staffing Plan has been developed and distributed to all City Departments.  Effective Tuesday, March 24th, all non-essential City employees will be limited to performing critical tasks only until April 7th.
  • City extends deadlines for Business License and Animal Tag filings till April 30th.

March 19, 2020 – Actions Taken:

  • Beginning March 20th, 2020, City Hall will be closed to the public.  Please call 659-6200 for information or to pay your utility bills by credit card, or you can mail in your payment, or use the City Hall 24-Hour Drop Box at the side door to make payments.
  • Mayor issued an Executive Order banning certain travel for all Public Safety Personnel and Department Heads.
  • Mayor encourages the community to support our local businesses by ordering delivery and carryout from our eateries.  Mayor also asks residents to move up your annual gift purchases to support the local retailers – buy your Birthday and Christmas gifts today to infuse cash into our business community.  Here’s a list of Whiting Restaurants that are currently providing delivery and/or carryout food services – WHITING RESTAURANT LIST.

March 16, 2020 – Actions Taken:

  • Mayor declared a Local Disaster Emergency to allow for a quicker response and flexibility to handle situations that are not the norm.
  • City Events have been cancelled through May 28th, with very limited exceptions
  • All public and intergovernmental meetings have either been cancelled or modified to minimize the number of attendees and their exposure.
  • The City has granted the authority to issue 100% refunds for all facility rentals through August 31, 2020 to alleviate concerns over the virus.
  • The City is offering other Part-Time positions to all crossing guards or Mascot Hall of Fame (MHOF) employees if they have been impacted by related closures.
  • The City is accepting applications from the staff of local businesses that have had the hours reduced because of the virus mandated shutdowns.
  • The City is offering special accommodations to employees who are “High-Risk”.
  • The City is reducing work hours for most office personnel and/or allowing them to work from home to minimize exposure.
  • Mayor Joe is engaging the Small Business Administration and the local banks to look for any opportunity to identify funding for our business owners.

March 9, 2020 – Actions Taken to Date:

  • Access to all public buildings has been reviewed and modified to minimize exposure to the virus.
  • All pubic buildings are now being sanitized at a higher frequency than during normal times.
  • Public Safety Personnel are taking precautions to protect themselves and the public while performing their normal duties.
  • MHOF has been temporarily closed to the public to prevent spreading the virus.
    • The down time will be used to deep clean the facility, make needed repairs and to catch up on major initiatives.
    • The City will do everything possible to make all Part-Time employees whole as to lost wages.

Tips and Suggestions:

  • CLICK HERE to review some valuable and responsible health tips that we highly encourage our residents and visitors to follow!
  • Support our local businesses by ordering delivery and carryout from our eateries.  Also move up your annual gift purchases to support the local retailers – buy your Birthday and Christmas gifts today to infuse cash into our business community.  Here’s a list of Whiting Restaurants that are currently providing delivery and/or carryout food services – WHITING RESTAURANT LIST.
  • Please pay your utility bills by check and either mail to City Hall or drop in the City Hall 24-Hour Drop Box.  You can also pay by credit card via phone.
  • Email to Licensing@whitingindiana.com or Fax applications, permits, etc. to 219-473-0799.
  • Applications for Tag Days, Special Events or Facility Rentals will not be accepted for days between today and May 31st.  All applications for these type of events after June 1st will be accepted and the date reserved, but will be subject to review of the current virus status before officially being approved.

Mayor Joe WJOB Radio Show Updates:

Click, view and listen to all City of Whiting WJOB Radio Shows providing Coronavirus Updates below. Tune-in to hear them live every Thursday from 8:30am-9:00am on 1230AM or 104.7FM!

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