Counties, municipalities take precautionary steps

Sussex County Council will hold its regularly scheduled meeting this week, but the session will be condensed, and in-person public access will be limited, steps the county government is taking in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Kent County, officials closed the Administrative Complex at 555 South Bay Road in Dover to the public until further notice and encouraged business through electronic means or by telephone. The Levy Court Committee Meeting scheduled for tonight at 7 has been canceled.

Sussex Council shifted its meeting to a noon start time Tuesay, and business discussed during that portion of the meeting will be limited to in-house reports and presentations to the council.

No spectators, other than staff, will be permitted in chambers at this time, and no public comment will be received. The public, however, may follow the proceedings on the county’s livestream at https://sussexcountyde.gov/council-chamber-broadcast.

A scheduled 1:30 p.m. public hearing on a land-use application filed on behalf of the Indian River School District will continue as planned. However, anyone wishing to comment on the application in person will be subject to a health screening prior to entry, including questionnaire and temperature examination and be admitted to chambers on a one-in, one-out basis.

County officials said those steps are intended to safeguard the health and safety of elected officials, staff, and the public at-large, and are in accordance with directives given by Delaware public health officials, as well as authority granted to public bodies by Gov. John C. Carney through Proclamation No. 17-3292.

County Council is not scheduled to return to session until March 31.

Also in Kent County, leaders closed the Parks and Recreation facility Monday, following the closure Friday of the Kent County Public Library.

Following county governments, many municipalities closed offices and posted amendments on how to do business.

Millsboro

Following a path taken by other municipalities, the town of Millsboro Monday announced the lobby at town hall will be closed to the public, but customer service will be provided at the drive-thru, located on the Mitchell Street side of Millsboro Town Center.

“We have decided to do drive-thru service only. There are no more over-the-counter services at this point,” said Millsboro Town Manager Sheldon Hudson. “Town hall is still open. Staff are reporting. But it is drive-thru only. It’s really business as usual. It’s really just the method of service delivery that is a little bit restricted for the time being.”

Town staff will attempt to accommodate non-payment related business as well via the drive-thru route. “We’ll try to do the best we can to do it through the drive-thru,” Mr. Hudson said.

Lobby closure/public access restriction is indefinite at this point “until we kind of get more direction or more of a sense of what is happening nationally,” Mr. Hudson said.

Mr. Hudson said upcoming committee meetings and council sessions could be impacted as well, but nothing definite has been determined at this time.

Milford

In the city of Milford, administrators took the measures:

• All city buildings will be closed to the general public until further notice. City employees will be needed to continue to provide city utilities and services to Milford residents and businesses. One-on-one meetings may be scheduled with the appropriate staff member, provided the visitor shows no signs of illness and has not traveled outside the USA within the last month;

• Utility payments will be accepted at the drive-up window at the side of the customer service office located at 119 S. Walnut St. Additionally, payments are accepted by drop box at City Hall, by mail and online;

• All late fees/penalties for utility bills will be waived until at least May 1;

• Utility shutoffs and munition sales have been suspended until at least May 1. There will be those who will be financially impacted due to a pandemic, and the city is taking this measure to provide short-term financial relief for those who may be impacted.

• All spring parks & recreation programs are canceled until after April 17. City parks and the Riverwalk will remain open; however, patrons are advised to practice social distancing;

• Building permits, licenses and land-use applications are being accepted electronically and by mail. Building inspections will continue as normal however rental inspections are canceled until further notice. For more specific details, visit the Planning & Economic Development webpage at https://www.cityofmilford.com/360/Planning-Economic-Development;

• All special event permits for festivals, parade, and other public gatherings are rescinded and revoked until at least May 1;

• Status of the city election and public meetings/hearings is undetermined and additional information will be forthcoming. City staff is in the process of establishing online meeting accommodations. This is a permitted accommodation approved under the governor’s declaration; however, several matters need to be resolved to ensure all public comments can be accepted by those wishing to participate.

Rehoboth Beach

The city of Rehoboth Beach implemented the following measures:

• Through March 31, city buildings and offices will be closed to the general public. This includes city hall, administrative offices, public works buildings, playgrounds and all public restrooms except Rehoboth Avenue. The city manager will evaluate continued closures as needed.

• City police, public works, water and wastewater crews will continue to operate and will be available to respond to service calls. Contact non-emergency police dispatch at 302-227-2577 and call this number for after-hours utility emergencies. In the event of an emergency, call 9-1-1.

• Rehoboth Beach residents are encouraged to use the city’s Citizen Self-Service Portal for making utility billing payments. Payments may also be made by U.S. mail and the drop box located outside city hall.

• City staff will continue to work on-site while offices remain closed to the public. City staff will be available through email and telephone at 302-227-6181.

• Essential in-person meetings with city staff may be arranged by appointment.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage

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