BY OLIVIA NYE | COMMUNITY NEWS SERVICE | JULY 1, 2020
UPDATE, AUGUST 5: The Drop-Off center is now open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Fridays.
The Hinesburg Drop-Off Center will open in mid-July. The site is just waiting on new state required signage and a few other small details, according to CSWD Outreach and Communication Director Michele Morris.
“Once we get those finalized and produced and all those other minor punch list items, we will be ready to roll at Hinesburg. We’re really excited to get that site back open because we know the community has been waiting a long time and we appreciate their patience,” Morris said.
CSWD will set in place three specific safety measures to address COVID-19 at the Hinesburg Drop-Off Center, according to Morris. First, the site has to be large enough to accommodate social distancing. Second, there has to be a flexible layout to support safe and efficient throughput of traffic flow. And lastly, traffic cannot be allowed to back up onto a main road, Morris said.
While the Hinesburg site remained vacant, Williston’s Drop-Off Center was the first of several CSWD outposts to see customers back since their closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Essex followed closely after, then Milton opened, and South Burlington is the latest to welcome back its community.
CSWD prioritized these sites to serve the maximum number of customers given the three safety considerations. Hinesburg is next, Morris said.
“We actually went to Hinesburg because we felt we had done a good job of serving a high concentration of our customers. And we wanted to get services out in part of the district that wasn’t being served,” Morris said.
In the face of reopening multiple sites, CSWD feels the pressure of COVID-19 most acutely in its staffing capabilities.
“We’ve had to add staff at certain sites in order to meter traffic and make sure it’s flowing properly. So that’s really put us at a crunch as well for staffing, because we have the same number of staff as we did before COVID,” Morris said.
Opening the next site requires making sure they have enough staff. Hence, the Hinesburg site is waiting on the success of the South Burlington location, which just reopened.
“So, we can’t afford to have it, if one person gets sick. Even with just the cold or the flu and can’t come into work, then we’re in a pinch for staffing. So we have to wait and see,”Morris said.
The long wait for the Drop-Off Center may have led Hinesburg residents to hire private hauling companies, Morris said. Even though the opening is much anticipated, the Hinesburg site might not experience as much traffic as it did prior to its closing.
The Hinesburg site is more than capable of handling its fair share of customers, Morris said. Staff and customers will be required to wear face masks and practice social distancing.
Morris and all of those at the CSWD are working their hardest to provide the best service to Chittenden County. They greatly look forward to reopening and welcoming the familiar Hinesburg faces that they have come so much to enjoy, according to Morris.
“We really appreciate the loyalty that customers show at our Drop-Off Centers. They get to know the operators and the staff who are there and they really create relationships with those folks. And our operators appreciate it and the community appreciates it. We really value that and are looking forward to reestablishing those relationships,” Morris said.
The Drop-Off opening can’t come soon enough for at least one Hinesburg resident: Town Administrator Renee Marshall. Marshall has had a steady stream of phone calls regarding the reopening. Hinesburg residents are bursting with questions about the Drop-Off Center, Marshall said.
“I know we have a lot of residents that have been anticipating their opening, really wanting to find out when they are opening,” Marshall said.
Community News Service is a collaboration with the University of Vermont’s Reporting & Documentary Storytelling program.