Cass County building to reopen Wednesday

CASSOPOLIS — Cass County is taking a step toward reopening following COVID-19 shutdowns.

Wednesday, the Cass County Administration Building will reopen to the public. The building will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and no after-hours public use of the building will be permitted.

All visitors to the county building and all employees will be screened per health department guidelines, which will include asking visitors a series of questions about their health, determining if they are showing any COVID-19 symptoms and asking if they have come into contact with the virus. Everyone who enters the building must wear a mask and adhere to social distancing guidelines laid out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Law and Courts Building will remain closed to the public, with limited exceptions for emergency matters, while the courts implement plans to return to full capacity in light of directives from the Michigan Supreme Court. Court hearings are being conducted virtually, and access to the courts is available by phone and email.

Though the county building has been closed, County Administrator Jeff Carmen said county services never stopped running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that county services have been available via phone or the county’s website. When the county building reopens, online and phone services will remain available for county residents.

“The building may have closed, but services never closed,” Carmen said.

For the time being, Cass County Commission meetings will continue to be hosted virtually. Still, Carmen said he and the commissioners are looking into ways to begin hosting in-person meetings again soon.  Meetings are hosted at 6:30 p.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month.

As the county reopens, Carmen said Cass County officials would continually evaluate its practices to best serve the community.

“This is the most dynamic environment of change and expectation most of us have experienced,” he said. “We are going to try this and will be looking at the daily demand. … We are going to continue to evaluate and refine how we operate.”

As county officials move forward, Carmen asked that residents continue to follow best practices and safety measures recommended by state and local health departments.

“We all want some version of a return to normal, I think, but this is not a normal time,” Carmen said. “We don’t think we will be normal in the way that we were last fall for quite some time.”

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