Town Manager Tom Holmes said two town employees have COVID, thus the Conway Town Hall will be closed through next Tuesday. (DAYMOND STEER PHOTO)

CONWAY — Due to two, first-floor employees testing positive for COVID Thursday, Conway Town Hall will remain closed to the public through Tuesday morning, Jan. 18, Town Manager Tom Holmes announced at 2:30 p.m. Thursday.

“I’m closing it to the public right now and posting a sign on the door to Town Hall. I don’t want people coming into the lobby — I don’t want to let the public in until I can determine how bad it is,” Holmes told the Sun Thursday afternoon.

Holmes took the action after confirming the positive test results for COVID for the two unnamed employees. He said one of the employees had already been out of work sick and that the other employee took an at-home test and also tested positive.

The latter person, he said, “was working at town hall so we’re trying to ascertain who she spoke with and whose office she had contact with … and then how socially distant they were; asking whether they had been vaccinated or not, and whether or not they were symptomatic. I am trying to determine the staffing level (for the next few days),” said Holmes.

He declined to specify which department the two employees work at to protect their privacy.

The first floor of Conway Town Hall is home to the town clerk/tax collector’s office, the assessing department, welfare, finance and the town manager’s office.

“We are trying to ascertain what kind of contacts this one employee who was in town hall had and who needs a test,” said Holmes.

He said two town hall employees have been out sick awaiting test results and the third took a self test and tested positive Thursday.

Assuming they don’t have a fever or taking fever reducing medicines, two of the positive testing employees will be eligible to return to work at town hall Tuesday morning as they have been in quarantine for the required five days, according to CDC guidelines. They could have come back Monday, but town hall is closed that day for the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

Under current Centers for Disease Control guidelines, people who test positive or have symptoms regardless of vaccination status are advised to stay home for at least five days and isolate from others and to wear a well-fitted mask if they must be around others in their home.

“There is glass that separates the employees from the public in the lobby, and they wear masks when dealing with the public,” said Holmes when asked about what measures are taken at town hall for interacting with the public.

Town hall staff will continue working, both on the first and second floor, communicating via phone and email but the public during this time will not be allowed in town hall, doing their town hall business via phone or email as was the case during the shutdown two years ago, Holmes said. The second floor houses the town engineering, town planning and building code enforcement offices and department of public works.

“We’ll close town hall this afternoon (Thursday ) and Friday and then we’re closed for the holiday Monday. We will hopefully by Tuesday morning have some test results back by Tuesday morning and then hopefully we will have enough staff. We will either be open or put a sign on the door if we are closed and we will post it on the town’s Facebook page. But I’m hoping we will be able to open Tuesday morning and this will just be a one-day thing,” said Holmes.

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