County offices to conduct most business via online or phones

Published 6:21 pm Monday, March 16, 2020

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Keeping distance is best.

That’s what a group gathered at the County Commission chambers decided following CDC recommendations Monday as to how to best deal with COVID-19.

Schools are already closing Wednesday and students won’t return until at least April 6.

State Schools Superintendent Dr. Eric Mackey made the announcement late Friday, and then said that students whose parents kept them out of school Monday through Wednesday were excused.

As of press-time, the number of reported cases in Alabama had spiked to 28.

There are no reported cases in Covington County.

In person court proceedings have been postponed except those that listed as exempt. (See story on Page 2).

The city of Andalusia will close its library, parks and suspend recreation ball. (See story at bottom of Page 1).

Amy Jones, Covington County Circuit Clerk said that she had received permission from the Administrative Office of Courts to allow her employees to work from home as a precautionary measure.

Probate Judge Stacy Brooks said she is concerned about the tight quarters in her office and that her staff shuffle paper work and are very close to residents who need to come in to conduct business.

Driver’s license renewals and tag renewals as well as new vehicle registration can be conducted online.

District Attorney Walt Merrell said his office has developed three contingency plans and will at the worst, provide electronic and telecommunications.

Revenue Commissioner Chuck Patterson said that folks can mail in checks and other documents to his office and that there is no need for anyone to come to his office.

Sheriff Blake Turman said that he has cleared out the protective custody dorm and make a space for any inmates that develop fever.

They are also taking temperatures and asking a questionnaire.

Work release inmates will be housed in tents outside the jail and will be required to take baths before coming back.

Turman said there are 255 inmates in the jail, which has a capacity of 189.

He said that pistol permits must be done in person. There’s no way around that.

The county commission agreed to post signage outside of county buildings requesting that those who have traveled outside the United States, or been in contact with those who have or those who exhibit symptoms not enter those buildings.

The preferred method of communication with be through the mail or through telephone conversations until further notice for county offices.

The commission also pledged to give out public information updates by 9 a.m., daily.

The commission also waived a $2 fee imposed by the county for mailing until the appropriate time after the coronavirus situation is over.

Additionally, those who do not have direct business in the courthouse are asked to not come, and parents are asked to make arrangements for their children instead of bringing them to the courthouse.