ANN ARBOR, MI — In response to the surge in COVID-19 cases and the state’s new emergency order temporarily shuttering certain workplaces, Ann Arbor is closing city hall again and making changes to city operations.
“We are planning to close city hall to the public starting Wednesday for the duration of the three-week period or pause,” City Administrator Tom Crawford said. “During that time, we will continue our services online, by mail and by phone.”
Residents will be able to access pretty much all the city services they need in those ways, Crawford said Monday night, Nov. 16, announcing the changes to City Council.
“We’re also closing all of our indoor recreation facilities,” he said.
Essential city services will continue, Crawford said.
“You know, the police, fire, water, storm, refuse collection — all of that will continue,” he said.
All the latest on the coronavirus in Michigan: Tuesday, Nov. 17
With COVID-19 cases surging, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued the new emergency order Sunday. It’s described as a three-week pause to save lives, targeting indoor gatherings.
“Right now, there are thousands of cases a day and hundreds of deaths a week in Michigan, and the number is growing,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “If we don’t act now, thousands more will die, and our hospitals will continue to be overwhelmed. We can get through this together by listening to health experts once again and taking action right now to slow the spread of this deadly virus.”
Workplaces, when work can be done from home, are not to be open while the order is in effect.
Michigan lists 260 new coronavirus outbreaks and 723 ongoing clusters in Nov. 16 report
“Our employees are moving to mandated telecommuting service if they’re able to for their job,” Crawford said. “Obviously we have a number of employees who that doesn’t apply to, but if they can, they will be.”
City staff will continue to support the city’s boards and commissions, which have been meeting virtually, but some of the work they request “may be delayed a bit as we go through this time of stretched capabilities,” Crawford said.
City hall was closed to the public for nearly three months after the coronavirus pandemic hit in March. It reopened in June with new mask requirements and other safety protocols.
Officials issue open letter after significant rise of COVID-19 cases in Washtenaw County
As of 11 a.m. Monday, there were 140 more confirmed COVID-19 cases among county residents in the last 24 hours, the Washtenaw County Health Department reported.
There also were 1,237 cases locally, including three deaths, during a two-week period from Oct. 29 to Nov. 11, according to the department. The number of confirmed and probable cases among county residents is now up to 7,859, including 560 hospitalizations and 128 deaths.
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