City modifies service delivery following Pause to Save Lives order

City modifies service delivery following Pause to Save Lives order
<strong>Photo by iStock</strong>

The city of Grand Rapids is modifying how it delivers some municipal services in wake of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services’ Pause to Save Lives COVID-19 epidemic order.

From Wednesday through Dec. 8, the city’s customer service center, located on the Monroe Avenue level of City Hall, will remain open to walk-in service, however, all other offices will be available by appointment only. Most city offices will be closed Nov. 26-27 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The city’s customer service center will remain open to the public from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Customer service employees will be on hand to assist with:

  • Water/sewer payments
  • Refuse account payments
  • Parking ticket payments
  • Purchasing tags and bags for refuse and yard waste collection
  • Set up water/sewer or refuse accounts
  • Miscellaneous receivables payments (code compliance, NSF fees, permit fees)
  • Accounts receivable payments
  • Community development block grant loan payments (anything beyond payments goes to community development)

“We have a responsibility to our residents and our employees,” City Manager Mark Washington said. “That’s why we are altering how we deliver services during this three-week period. It’s important we all do what we can to reduce the spread of this latest COVID-19 spike and maintain the critical services our community depends on.”

The city also is reimplementing service adjustments to align with the MDHHS order. The following changes are in effect through Dec. 8 unless otherwise noted:

  • City buildings are closed to walk-in traffic during the current MDHHS order, which is scheduled to expire Dec. 9. Staff members are available to provide services via email, phone or 311 customer service. The city’s website also offers a wide range of services. Call customer service at 311 or (616) 456-3000 to see if a request can be processed by 311 without an appointment. If it can’t, 311 can arrange a video conference, telephone conference or in-person appointment with the appropriate department representative. Anyone seeking an in-person meeting must make an appointment with the appropriate department if the service question cannot be answered by the 311 service center. A city hall ambassador will be at the Calder Plaza level to check in anyone arriving for an appointment or requesting to see a department. All visitors must wear a face covering in compliance with Section 7 of the MDHHS order or provide a valid reason for not wearing one.
  • The police department’s lobby remains open, but access is restricted. Walk-ins are permitted for records and police issues. Fingerprinting has been temporarily suspended.
  • The city treasurer recommends customers take advantage of the multiple payment options with no convenience fee: GR PayIt; official payments, 877-495-0333; city of Grand Rapids Drop Box on Ottawa Avenue, which will be checked at least once per day; or U.S. Postal Service.
  • The city’s yard waste drop-off site remains open.
  • Funeral services at city cemeteries are limited to 25 people.
  • Parks and recreation facility rentals are suspended. A full refund will be provided.
  • Indian Trails Golf Course remains open, weather permitting. Only one person is permitted in the clubhouse at a time. All food and beverage sales are prepackaged and sold to-go.

The city continues to encourage residents to get outside and stay active. While the use of parks, trails and open spaces is allowed under the Pause to Save Lives order, visitors must follow the 6-feet physical distancing requirement. The city urges visitors to follow these park usage guidelines:

  • Don’t visit a park, trail or open space if you’re feeling ill.
  • Visit only with members of your household.
  • Wash your hands before and after your visit and don’t touch your face.
  • While on a trail, warn other users of your presence and step aside to let others pass.
  • If the park, trail or open space is busy and social distancing isn’t possible, find another time to visit or find an alternate location.

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