Both city and county officials have taken extra precautions and are asking the public to limit in-person interactions with administrative staff in response to the COVID-19 crisis across the nation.
While there are no cases in Livingston County it is important to take precautions, Chillicothe City Administrator Darin Chappell said.
“It is important to take precautions where and when we all can,” he said.
On Tuesday, the three Livingston County Commissioners released a joint statement requesting limited activity in the courthouse until further notice, due to the severity of the coronavirus, according to a press release.
Commissioners asked residents with business in the courthouse try to conduct their matters by calling 646-8000.
Chappell said city hall remains open as well, however, they are encouraging residents with business in city hall to try and handle it through telephone calls or emails.
“Some functions of government do require face-to-face interaction,’ he said. “The government doesn’t just shut down. We are encouraging residents to make phone calls or email us.”
Certain items like business licenses can also be handled through the mail.
“We are trying to continue to help the public and do our daily business as well, but without all of the face-to-face interactions,” he said.
Chappell also noted the mayor and city staff are working to find a solution to the March 30 City Council meeting, as the groups is typically larger than the suggested 10 person limit.
“We have citizens who show up to these meetings, and we want them to do that,’ he said. “Right now we are following the guidelines to limit group size, but we want to provide all the information to whoever wants it, as it happens and to be as transparent as we can be.”
City hall can be reached by calling 646-1480.
Chillicothe Municipal Utilities has closed its offices to customers. However, bills can be paid online, by mail or by using the drop boxes located in the parking lot and at the office entrance. CMU can be reached by calling 646-1664.
Members of emergency services and law enforcement have close contact with the public on a repeated basis during each of their shifts. This week, both Livingston County Sheriff Steve Cox and Chillicothe Police Chief John Maples discussed how things may be changing in their offices and asked the public to help protect officers and deputies by letting them know if someone is ill when they call seeking assistance.
“We ask that if you or your family has self-quarantined, that you make emergency personnel aware of this when calling,” Maples said noting his office has made a few procedural changes including how officers take reports.
“Citizens should call 9-1-1 for emergencies for any situations where there is a crime in progress, both property or person crimes, and or a life is in danger. Low-level crime calls or non-emergencies where a suspect is no longer present or the crime has already occurred will be handled by an officer over the phone following a call to 9-1-1 as well. For low-level crimes, citizens will be asked to complete your report over the phone with an officer where a report number will be provided.,” he said.
“There are certain instances that may still require on-scene investigation, and we will respond as necessary. When officers respond they will have on rubber gloves during the contact, may have a facemask, and will attempt to keep the three-six foot distance for safety.”
To speak with someone at the police department, call the non-emergency number 646-2121.
Cox informed the public earlier this week that there will be limited access to the Sheriff’s office building.
Like other area officials, he encouraged members of the public to call, as many of their concerns could be handled that way.
Deputies and officers with the Chillicothe Police Department will still respond to calls.
Call the sheriff’s office at 646-0515 for assistance with questions that do not require the assistance of a deputy.