The Morrison County Government Center is set to reopen its doors, Tuesday, May 26, with new practices aligning with COVID-19 precautions.

County Administrator Deb Gruber said that any offices normally seeing a high volume of people, like Land Services, Social Services and Motor Vehicle will likely ask customers to make an appointment ahead of time to prevent large gatherings of people waiting in line.

Offices will have plexiglass dividers and sanitizing stations to protect visitors and staff as well as floor stickers indicating a 6-foot social distancing mark. For the time being, all customers will enter through the main lobby doors.

The county plans to create an online scheduling tool for customers to make an appointment and also view any documents they may need to bring on their visit. The customer will receive a test message or email confirming their appointment time and asking them to check in from the parking lot. When the staff member is ready to see them, the customer will get a message and be able to enter the building.

Appointments can also be made over the phone and those without a device can wait in the main lobby of the government center and check in with a staff member who will inform them when they can go to their appointment location.

A lobby greeter position will be in place until further notice, Gruber said, to direct any walk-ins, provide information and help minimize the number of people in one area

“We can’t do business with a packed lobby right now,” she said.

IT Director Amy Middendorf said the appointment function will allow a customer to choose the service they need so both staff and the customer are prepared for the transaction. She also announced that the new county website is scheduled to go live Aug. 17, creating a more accessible and functional information tool for government center visitors.

“If you have an appointment and if you don’t have what it is you need, you haven’t done your homework with that, you’re going to have to make another appointment. Because we have to schedule people out so we can do business and meet the requirements we have to meet,” Gruber said.

For Motor Vehicle, Gruber said they expect appointments will fill up fast with customers renewing driver’s licenses and making transfers, processes that were on hold during the stay at home order. Tab renewals will still be available through a dropbox transaction and the county will mail customers their tabs.

At first, motor vehicle will only schedule appointments out a couple of weeks in advance, and depending on how that initial period goes, Gruber said they can make adjustments and possibly allow for appointments to be made months in advance.

“I don’t want to make it harder than it has to be, but I do know we have to play this by ear,”she said.

The county may seek temporary assistance from the Sheriff’s Department as a precaution, noting an awareness of customers who will and won’t abide by social distancing guidelines.

Gruber said the county is working to spread the information in local papers, on the radio and with flyers to reach as many residents as possible. The county website will also be updated with any changes in visitation procedures or appointment scheduling.

    The Morrison County Government Center is set to reopen its doors, Tuesday, May 26, with new practices aligning with COVID-19 precautions.

    County Administrator Deb Gruber said that any offices normally seeing a high volume of people, like Land Services, Social Services and Motor Vehicle will likely ask customers to make an appointment ahead of time to prevent large gatherings of people waiting in line.

    Offices will have plexiglass dividers and sanitizing stations to protect visitors and staff as well as floor stickers indicating a 6-foot social distancing mark. For the time being, all customers will enter through the main lobby doors.

    The county plans to create an online scheduling tool for customers to make an appointment and also view any documents they may need to bring on their visit. The customer will receive a test message or email confirming their appointment time and asking them to check in from the parking lot. When the staff member is ready to see them, the customer will get a message and be able to enter the building.

    Appointments can also be made over the phone and those without a device can wait in the main lobby of the government center and check in with a staff member who will inform them when they can go to their appointment location.

    A lobby greeter position will be in place until further notice, Gruber said, to direct any walk-ins, provide information and help minimize the number of people in one area

    “We can’t do business with a packed lobby right now,” she said.

    IT Director Amy Middendorf said the appointment function will allow a customer to choose the service they need so both staff and the customer are prepared for the transaction. She also announced that the new county website is scheduled to go live Aug. 17, creating a more accessible and functional information tool for government center visitors.

    “If you have an appointment and if you don’t have what it is you need, you haven’t done your homework with that, you’re going to have to make another appointment. Because we have to schedule people out so we can do business and meet the requirements we have to meet,” Gruber said.

    For Motor Vehicle, Gruber said they expect appointments will fill up fast with customers renewing driver’s licenses and making transfers, processes that were on hold during the stay at home order. Tab renewals will still be available through a dropbox transaction and the county will mail customers their tabs.

    At first, motor vehicle will only schedule appointments out a couple of weeks in advance, and depending on how that initial period goes, Gruber said they can make adjustments and possibly allow for appointments to be made months in advance.

    “I don’t want to make it harder than it has to be, but I do know we have to play this by ear,”she said.

    The county may seek temporary assistance from the Sheriff’s Department as a precaution, noting an awareness of customers who will and won’t abide by social distancing guidelines.

    Gruber said the county is working to spread the information in local papers, on the radio and with flyers to reach as many residents as possible. The county website will also be updated with any changes in visitation procedures or appointment scheduling.

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