Johnston County Manager Rick Hester says that several county government offices that remain closed to public access will transition to in-person services beginning in a few weeks. COVID-19 forced many offices to limit public access. Several offices have still not re-opened to the public including the Tax Office inside the courthouse and Land Use Center. The Land Use Center consists of six departments including Planning Environmental Health, Veterans Administration, Public Utilities and Building Inspections.
Hester said while the officers are open and providing services in different ways, each agency is different. Some areas have small lobbies while other may have larger lobbies, the county manager said making each reopening situation different.
Beginning next month the remaining departments closed to direct public access will begin reopening for walk-in traffic.
“On Monday, May 3rd – the County is planning to transition back to more of a traditional office setting – in terms of providing services. We have been discussing this – and preparing for this – for the past several weeks. Our enhanced online services will continue. There will still be some continued employee telework – as well. Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place in the buildings. Our goal is to provide services in a way that is safe for citizens and employees, Mr. Hester said.
Those safety protocols include social distancing, wearing masks and using hand sanitizer to protect the public and employees.
The ongoing county office closures has drawn criticism from the public. One citizen emailed the County recently and sent a copy of the letter to Johnston County Report. The letter stated, “Grocery stores are open, (the) post office is open, Walmart is open, Lowes is open. Everything in Johnston County is open except for a government services building that sells (trash) decals for services that should be provided.”