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Wright County News

Posted on: May 18, 2020

County Officials Explain Obstacles to Opening Public Windows, Scheduled for May 27

The lifting of Minnesota’s “stay at home” order has opened up many businesses that had been closed, but Wright County public counters will remain closed until Wednesday, May 27.

Wright County Administrator Lee Kelly explained that maintenance staff is in the process of installing protective equipment at public areas of county facilities to provide safeguards.

“Our goal is to provide protection for the public coming our facilities as well our staff providing service to the public,” Kelly said. “We have some departments and offices completed. Others are still in the process of being completed. Our timeline is to have those protective measures in place by the end of this week to have everything in place for the reopening of public counters May 27.”

A critical element of the process of reopening is the requirement of setting up an appointment schedule to minimize the potential for crowds gathering in certain areas of county facilities.

Information Technology Director Matthew Fomby said that the process is underway to allow for scheduling on department pages of the county website so there is a uniform system.

“The county is currently updating its website with scheduling capabilities that will allow all citizens to formally schedule appointments for all county services,” Fomby said. “Based on an anticipated opening date of May 27, the websites should be up and functional on Monday May 25.”

One key area that won’t reopen May 27 will be the License Bureau/DMV. The continued requirement of social distancing is being addressed due to the unique nature of the office, which is in a corner on the first floor of the Government Center and has consistently been an area that has long lines of residents pressed together.

“We’ve been looking at different options throughout this process,” said License Bureau Supervisor Becky Aanerud. “It’s a challenge, but we’re trying some things to separate those who need driver’s licenses and those who need other services we provide like tabs and title transfers.”

One of the reasons for the delay in opening the License Bureau is the installation of an exterior sliding window and an intercom system to allow for walk-up traffic that will reduce the numbers of people inside the building.

The plan is to hold off opening public windows – with the exception of the DMV – until all departments and offices are ready to accommodate the increase of public traffic. That work will be completed by the May 27 scheduled opening date.

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