As some Hall County departments are set to reopen next week, County officials are unveiling comprehensive plans to keep both employees and citizens safe.
"We have developed a methodical, gradual reopening plan that is spread out over several weeks in order to open our buildings in a manner that is consistent with CDC, White House and state guidelines and recommendations," said Hall County Administrator Jock Connell.
Several departments at the Hall County Government Center will be the first to reopen on May 18; however, staff will only be meeting with citizens if an appointment is scheduled.
"This is just one of several measures we are taking to ensure the safety and wellness of both our employees and the public," said Connell.
In order to schedule an appointment, citizens can call 770-535-8288. Appointments will be available between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. In addition, appointments must be booked by 5 p.m. the day prior to the day of the requested appointment.
The following departments will be available to the public beginning May 18 by appointment only:
- Board of Commissioners
- Building Inspections
- Business License
- Environmental Health
- Financial Services
- Human Resources
- Marshal’s Office
- Planning & Development
- Public Works
- Tax Assessors
The Hall County Tax Commissioner’s Office, which issues vehicles tags among other services, will remain closed until further notice. Citizens seeking services in that department are encouraged to log on to www.hallcountytax.org or to call 770-531-6950.
A number of other precautions will also be in place as departments reopen. Those precautions include the following:
- Glass storefronts will be installed in areas of the building that receive frequent visitors.
- The number of people allowed on elevators will be limited to three in order to maximize social distancing.
- Front-line employees who have frequent interaction with citizens will be required to wear a face mask.
- Visitors will be encouraged to wear a face mask and will be asked whether or not they have had contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 or if they have experienced symptoms associated with the virus.
- Staff will be working in shifts in order to limit the number of people in a given area at any given time.
The Hall County Library System will be offering curbside library service beginning Monday, May 18 at the Gainesville, Spout Springs, Blackshear Place, and Murrayville libraries. Appointments and more information is available at www.hallcountylibrary.org. In addition, telephone and email assistance with holds, new cards, renewals and other questions will still be available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Book drops will also reopen to accept returns on May 18. All returned materials will be quarantined for 72 hours based on national recommendations from library organizations. Please note that the North Hall Community Center branch will remain closed until that building reopens. Virtual programs, including story times, continue via the library’s Facebook page.
Meanwhile, the Hall County Farmers Market is set to open next week with new precautions and procedures in place at that location. The first farmers market of the year will take place Tuesday, May 19, but the market will look different than it has in the past. Only every other booth space will be occupied, restrooms will be closed, no samples will be allowed and shoppers will not be able to use their own bags. Signage with these and other rules to promote health and safety measures will be on display at the farmer’s market as it reopens to the public.
As these facilities reopen, increased sanitation efforts will continue countywide to ensure the most sterile environment possible.
"As you are aware, local health officials feel strongly that Hall County will not hit its peak number of hospitalizations due to COVID-19 until early to mid-June," Connell said. "Our controlled reopening plan is meant to protect both our employees and the public as we navigate that timeline and seek to maintain social distancing for the foreseeable future. Obviously, if our local situation worsens, then we will have to readjust our plans accordingly. We are monitoring our situation on a daily basis and will continue to do so."
Meanwhile, citizens are still encouraged to conduct County business on Hall County’s website, www.hallcounty.org, if at all possible. Online motor vehicle services, including vehicle registration renewals, the payment of insurance fines, etc. are all available via the "Online Payments" button on the website. That’s also where citizens can pay their property tax, renew their business license, and more.
The County’s website can also be used to print an absentee ballot application or file property tax exemptions. Taxpayers should note that the deadline for filing a Homestead and Freeport Exemption has been extended to June 15.
The homepage of the website also includes a "Departments" heading where citizens can find links to individual County departments’ contact information in order to contact a department specifically and determine whether or not their Hall County business can be conducted without an in-person visit.
Finally, a number of proactive steps Hall County has taken to date in regards to the coronavirus pandemic, along with a number of other helpful resources on this issue, can be found at ready.hallcounty.org.