White Rock CAO apologies for decreased service, blames high COVID-19 numbers among staff

Rapidly spreading Omicron has left the city short-handed, Guillermo Ferrero says

White Rock CAO Guillermo Ferrero is asking for the public to be patient while city staff struggle with being short-handed during the Omicron phase of the pandemic. Contributed photo

White Rock CAO Guillermo Ferrero is asking for the public to be patient while city staff struggle with being short-handed during the Omicron phase of the pandemic. Contributed photo

White Rock chief administrative officer Guillermo Ferrero is asking residents to bear with city employees struggling to keep up amid pandemic-related staff shortages, particularly since the arrival of the Omicron variant.

Ferrero made his comments to council during Monday night’s (Jan. 10) regular meeting.

“We are experiencing rapid infections between staff members,” he admitted. “This really important because I’m asking you and the community to be patient for some of the services we are offering.

“We are very short-handed in many departments, including the finance department, the engineering department and some of the crews on the street,” he acknowledged.

“Unfortunately, in many cases you will find the level of services are really decreasing.”

READ ALSO: Twenty Surrey Mounties and 10 city staffers hit with COVID-19

READ ALSO: B.C. vaccine protection holding as Omicron spreads, Dr. Henry says

Ferrero said staff were labouring to do their best under almost impossible circumstances.

“As you know, the province mandated that municipalities to go back to safety plans, so that means we’ll have to go back to where we were before the third wave,” he said.

“In most cases we’re going to be reconsidering if we can have facilities open or programs running, or how we’re going to deal with the service levels and disruptions we’re experiencing right now.”

“Most likely we’ll be in the scenario where, if cases don’t get any better, we may have to close city hall again, or maybe we’ll work through appointment, or just (admit residents) with a buzzer, because we’re now required to have occupancy levels respected.”

Ferrero pointed out that occupancy of council chambers has been reduced, based on that requirement, and that includes the foyer.

“Please be patient,” he urged.

“We’re doing our best to respond. If you leave messages, we’ll get to them. It’s really the only way to do it, without getting a lot of people infected.”



alex.browne@peacearchnews.com

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