The Hall County Government Center is fully reopening to the public on Monday, county officials have announced.
It's the first time the building at 2875 Browns Bridge Road has been completely open to the general public since operations were altered in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some offices, however, will continue to encourage people to use virtual methods to conduct business.
"As the doors of the government center open to the public again, we will still continue to follow social distancing guidelines and other best practices as outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and the White House," Hall County Administrator Jock Connell said.
Everything won't be the same as it was before. Connell said additional health precautions will continue, including the use of glass storefronts in areas frequented by the public, staggered work shifts, the use of face masks by front-line employees and limiting the number of people in places like elevators and lobbies.
Hall County Government has been slowly reopening its facilities using a phased-in approach, which began in mid-May. County officials first opened the Hall County Government Center for appointments only and then opened other County facilities, with limited hours and modified services in some cases, in order to protect both Hall County staff and the citizens they serve.
"Over the past several weeks, staff has had an opportunity to become familiar with how to best serve the public given the new health and safety guidelines in place," said Connell.
Members of the public needing to conduct business in the Tax Commissioner's Office are encouraged to explore ways to conduct business virtually.
"We know some citizens have been waiting a long time for our office to reopen, and we are happy to serve them in-person once again," Hall County Tax Commissioner Darla Eden said. "However, there are a number of ways the public can conduct County business without ever stepping foot into our office."
Those virtual options include the use of the tag renewal kiosk at the Kroger Marketplace on Jesse Jewell Parkway. The tax commissioner's website also outlines ways to renew motor vehicle registrations or pay taxes online, via email, over the phone, via mail or utilizing the drop box, located outside the Hall County Government Center.
"We are also encouraging citizens who need to complete title work to go to hallcountytax.org first and make sure they have all of the items they need in order to complete that transaction," said Eden.
Connell also urged the public to have patience.
"In order to ensure the safety and health of the public and our employees, visitors at the government center may experience increased wait times due to the additional safeguards and practices being followed," he said.
To avoid coming into the building and to decrease wait times, citizens are encouraged to conduct their County business online if possible, utilizing Hall County's website, www.hallcounty.org. That's also where citizens can pay their property tax, renew their business license, and more.
Meanwhile, the county will continue to stream county commission meetings online. Although formal public comment will be limited to those attending meetings in person, citizens are welcome to submit a comment via the website on any item appearing on an upcoming meeting agenda. That comment will be forwarded to the Board of Commissioners for their review.