Sussex County limits public access, continues services in response to COVID-19

GEORGETOWN – Response to the coronavirus crisis is impacting the operations of Sussex County government.

While it continues to deliver services to the public, Sussex County government has implemented significant modifications to day-to-day operations, including ending public access to all county facilities, suspending marriage ceremonies, and halting cash payments, are some of the exceptional steps being implemented as Delaware responds to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting populations around the world.

Effective Thursday, March 19, all county government facilities will be closed to public access until further notice.

The public will be allowed strict limited entry only to the lobby of the Sussex County Administrative Offices building, located at 2 The Circle in Georgetown, during regular business hours to drop off documents to be processed by county staff.

Select staff will remain at work or telecommute to continue daily operations, but in-person contact with employees in their respective offices will be prohibited.

County government is encouraging the public to do business as much as possible through electronic means, namely email and telephone. Scanned documents, such as building permit applications, requests for site inspections, deed recordings, and more, can be transmitted to offices electronically.

The county has developed a COVID-19 portal to provide specific information about modified services, viewable at www.sussexcountyde.gov/coronavirus. Information for contacting county offices is available on the county’s website, at www.sussexcountyde.gov, and will be posted outside County facilities, as well.

Meantime, the Marriage Bureau has suspended performing all wedding ceremonies and issuing licenses, though certified-copy applications will be received electronically or via drop-off.

And county offices will halt accepting cash as a form of payment for all services. Only credit card or check payments will be accepted. For credit card payments, all surcharges will be waived until further notice to accommodate customers inconvenienced by the temporary policy.

“These are unprecedented times, and this is an unprecedented response, but we believe these are necessary steps to protect the health and safety of our staff and the public we serve,” Sussex County Council President Michael H. Vincent said. “We understand how important it is for the public to interact with our staff and utilize our services on a daily basis, whether that’s obtaining permits, submitting building plans, making utility payments, or recording deeds. Those and all the other important services the county provide on a daily basis continue at this time, and we remain operational.

“But we are changing the way we do business as this crisis evolves, and we may have to change it even further in the days and weeks ahead as we all learn more about this pandemic,” Mr. Vincent added. “So, we ask the public to understand this and to bear with us during these very trying times. We will get through this, and we will do it together. But it will take all of us exercising a high degree of sacrifice and patience.”