In March, Census field operations were delayed to protect workers. This week, field operations have resumed in some parts of the country, including Salt Lake City and Orem.
“We have to protect the health and wellness of our staff as well as the public, that means listen to and lean on the guidance we get from national and local public health authorities. But then we all know that there is an obligation in the law that the census has to turn over a population count of all residency by Dec. 31 to congress and the president,” said Micheal Cook, the chief of the Public Information Office for the United States Census Bureau.
Recently, officials at the bureau released a report stating that with the approval of health officials on the federal, state and local levels, they will begin dropping off 2020 Census questionnaire packets on the doorsteps of Utah households. This will be done in areas where most households don’t receive mail at a physical address.
There are many safety precautions being taken by the bureau to balance meeting the Dec. 31 deadline and protecting workers. According to an NPR report, this includes providing 10 day reusable face masks and gloves. Workers will also follow social distancing protocall, of standing six feet away from others and undergo safety training before being allowed to work.
Although many people self-respond to the census, going door-to-door is important for an accurate count.
“The vast majority of people are going to self respond,” Cook said. “But when it comes to completing the census to make sure it is accurate and complete everywhere, there is door to door counting of households that have not responded. That has not changed, that is still a major component of the census.”
As this stage of operations opens back up in Orem and Salt Lake City, the census bureau will work closely with federal, state and local health officials to maintain the safety of their workers and communities