It has been a very trying time for Nova Scotians over the past few months with several tragic events playing out over the concerning back drop of the COVID-19 pandemic. As we have reoriented our lives to adapt to the public health measures, many challenges to our habits, our well-being and our livelihoods have added additional stress. On behalf of Council and the entire Engineers Nova Scotia team, we hope that you and your loved ones have stayed healthy and safe, and that you have all been able to maintain your good spirits!
As you are aware, in response to the public health risk, our office has been closed to visitors since March 18, 2020 – it has been ten weeks already!
In regular reporting we can sense that Nova Scotia COVID-19 cases have decreased to a point where there is energy and excitement around the slow reopening of our community and services – events to which many are looking forward. This easing of restrictions will happen even though we will still face the COVID-19 virus; it is most probable that we will experience a “new normal” in how we live, work and play - full of many changes to what were our pre-COVID-19 habits.
Here at Engineers Nova Scotia, we are monitoring developments and assessing how we will prepare our downtown office for a full return to the workplace. To date, we have been able to fulfill our regulatory obligations using virtual communications and processes, though with a few challenges. As many of you have likely come to understand, the improvements in remote working tools has been a game-changer for most businesses, but they will not be a substitute for face-to-face working relationships.
As I am accountable for the health of all staff, volunteers, members, and the public that work in or visit 1355 Barrington Street, I will be managing risk conservatively by adhering to all federal, provincial and municipal public health guidelines. We will keep our office closed to non-employees until I am confident that we can properly mitigate exposure and possible spread with the necessary standards of safety, cleaning, and physical distancing in our workplace.
To provide a brief update on what we have been doing, planning, and preparing, as well as how we are dealing with the changing dynamic and public health protocols, I want to share our thoughts and decisions:
The Staff and I are developing plans to meet Council’s direction; currently, we do not have any details to share.
While the current situation is uncertain, full of many unknowns, we will continue to assess our options using a risk management lens. As engineering professionals, we are well-versed on safety factors and mitigations to ensure the best return on investment. This is how I will continue to advise Council on our approach to resuming operations. We, like you, want to ensure we are part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Though this is sparse on detail, I hope this provides some transparency on our thought process and how we will continue to meet our regulatory obligations while ensuring all of us are protected as best as possible.
On behalf of Council and the Staff, I thank you for your continued understanding and support. We wish you and your loved ones continued good health, and we are looking forward to the day when we can all meet face-to-face again!