Local governments limit office access


Local governments are restricting access to their offices in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

At their meeting Monday morning, the Dubois County Commissioners passed a resolution setting out protocols for visitors to county-owned property. Anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms or anyone who has been exposed to someone who has or may have COVID-19 is asked not to come to county offices unless ordered by the court. The resolution also outlines three questions county employees can ask visitors to determine if the visitor is a risk of COVID-19 and allows county employees to perform additional non-invasive screenings such as temperature taking. The resolution also states that anyone who exhibits symptoms on county property “shall follow any instructions given to them by Judges, law enforcement and county staff which may include steps to limit exposure to other individuals.”

The resolution will expire on April 19, unless terminated or extended by the commissioners.

City and town officials are also limiting access to their facilities. In a press release this morning, the Town of Ferdinand said that while the town hall will remain open at this time, citizens are asked to use the drive-thru to conduct regular business, such as making payments and purchasing trash stickers.

“This provides convenience for our residents, while also offering an extra layer of protection for our employees,” the release said.

Citizens who have business that requires them to come into town hall, such as permit forms or establishing a utility account, are asked to do a self-check of their temperature. If your temperature registers 99.8 or above, you are asked to stay home. The town also encourages patrons to call ahead to explain what is needed so staff can prepare the items and use the drive-thru for documents.

The City of Huntingburg also released a statement today limiting access to its offices “for the foreseeable future” and stating that only essential meetings will be held. Anyone with business with the city is asked to call ahead to see if it can be conducted via the phone. The city can be reached at 812-683-2211. Utility customers are asked to make their payments through the drive-thru window on the east side of City Hall. Limited service for issues not related to utility payments will be conducted at the entrance to City Hall.

“The situation is very fluid, and more changes are likely,” the release said. “As decisions are made and new information becomes available, we will keep the public informed.”

City of Jasper Director of Personnel, Safety and Loss Control Cale Knies said Jasper is also limiting access to city buildings. Citizens are asked to make utility payments through the drive-thru window and to call ahead for business with any other city offices, as much of the work can be done over the phone.

“The biggest thing for us is plan ahead and if possible, give us a call,” Knies said.

If something is time sensitive, citizens will be told to come in.

City officials are meeting today to discuss hours of operation for the Jasper Community Arts Center galleries and the Habig Center. Knies expects more information to be available this afternoon.

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