Merced City offices begin to reopen
It won't be business as usual though ...
(City of Merced release)
Employees who have been working remotely will be returning to their offices Monday, May 11, as the City of Merced prepares to resume operations with the public.
The goal is to open up City Hall — the Merced Civic Center at 678 W. 18th St. — to the public on Monday, May 18. Other City facilities, including the Police Department and Public Works, will also open to the public on that date. The Parks and Recreation Office will open at a later date.
“With the governor reopening many businesses in the state, it is time to begin moving the City in the same direction,” said City Manager Steve Carrigan. “We are opening City offices with the health and safety of everyone — City employees and the public — as the top priority.”
“This is a limited opening, because employee wellness is really important to me,” Carrigan said.
It won’t be business as usual, as a variety of social distancing measures are being put in place at City facilities.
Initially, only counter service on the first and second floors will be available at City Hall. Other City business will be conducted by telephone, email or video conference.
City facilities were shut down to the public and employees began working remotely March 20 to comply with the governor’s stay-at-home order. Normal operations of police, fire, refuse, sewer or water were not affected, and most City functions continued.
The move follows Gov. Gavin Newsom’s modification of the stay-at-home order of Thursday, May 7. That moved the state to Stage 2, allowing the reopening of some non-essential businesses with modifications.
City Council meetings, along with board and commission meetings, will continue to meet virtually and telephonically.
Parks are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. to encourage people to get exercise and fresh air, but users are cautioned to maintain social distance. Park restrooms are closed, as are other park facilities including playgrounds and picnic shelters, per the state and county orders.
The air carrier for the Merced Regional Airport, Boutique Airlines, has been operating and the airport is open to general aviation users.
Even though the building is open next week, City customers won’t have to come to City Hall to make payments. Customers can make payments:
- By using the automated phone system at 209-388-7289
- Paying online at www.cityofmerced.org
- Using the drop box outside City Hall (check, cashier’s check or money order, no cash, please)
- Mailing payments (check, cashier’s check or money order, no cash, please)
Questions about utility bills can be emailed to [email protected] or people can phone 209-385-6841.
The City will not be charging people late fees and no new water services will be shut off if people cannot make their payments while the state of emergency is declared. However, they still will be ultimately responsible for the payment of all bills once the emergency order is lifted.