Littleton tightens restrictions as virus count climbs

Police officers, court staff test positive; city manager hopes to avoid lockdowns

David Gilbert
dgilbert@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 11/14/20

The City of Littleton is enacting stricter restrictions on city services as COVID-19 cases climb, including at least a dozen cases among city staff. The restrictions included suspending walk-in …

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Littleton tightens restrictions as virus count climbs

Police officers, court staff test positive; city manager hopes to avoid lockdowns

Posted

The City of Littleton is enacting stricter restrictions on city services as COVID-19 cases climb, including at least a dozen cases among city staff.

The restrictions included suspending walk-in service at Bemis Library except for curbside pickup and one-hour appointments to use computers. The Littleton Museum planned to stay open, with attendance limited to 50 per hour.

City services like permit applications are moving to online-only formats accessible through the city's website. The Omnibus senior and disabled transportation service will halt services starting Nov. 24.

The municipal court will shut down until at least Nov. 27 after several employees tested positive for the virus, and all hearings and trials scheduled for that timeframe will be rescheduled.

City Manager Mark Relph announced the tighter restrictions on Nov. 10, the same day that Arapahoe County moved to the “high risk” category on the Tri-County Health Department's ranking system of virus spread, just a step from a stay-at-home order.

At least 12 city employees had tested positive for the virus as of Nov. 13, including the court employees, as well as employees at city hall and at least six police officers.

The affected officers are quarantining and the police department continues to function normally, said Littleton Police spokesperson Cmdr. Trent Cooper in an email.

The department can reassign officers from specialized units and the detective division into patrol as needed, Cooper said, and can go to 12-hour shifts if staffing falls further. Chief Doug Stephens did not respond to a request for comment on the department's COVID control efforts.

“The county, to their credit, have reached out to city councils and city managers to review data with the Tri-County Health Department to talk about how we can manage this,” Relph said.

Situations improved over the summer, and the city was able to bring back some staffing in city buildings, but those days are gone for now, Relph said.

“If there's a silver lining to this, it's that we've sparked some innovation on how to deliver services remotely,” he said.

Relph said further business shutdowns like those seen in the spring are up to health department and county officials, but said everyone involved is hoping to avoid those situations.

“But we've got to protect our hospitals,” Relph said. “They're the cornerstone of our response. We have an opportunity, right now, to curb this going into the winter. Like everyone else, I got tired of this over the summer. I dropped my guard, I went out with friends. We can't afford to do that now. The message remains the same: Wash your hands, keep your distance from others and wear a face mask.”

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