Supervisors move forward with plans to reopen offices

County to purchase masks to hand out to residents entering county offices

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

LEE COUNTY – Despite some pushback from county department heads, Lee County supervisors voted Tuesday to move forward with plans to reopen county buildings Aug. 3

Supervisor Gary Folluo said during county department head meetings, he’s had some employees show hesitation to reopening fully.

“If we’re serious about opening our buildings up, we still have to be cognizant of our department heads and their wishes,” he said.

The county will continue the current procedure of running driver’s license services by appointment only. Lee County Treasurer Chris Spann said the motor vehicle department is working off appointments only, but will be allowing for a walk-in at the title and registration’s desk every 15 minutes.

Folluo said it’s important for the public to understand that if someone has an appointment at 1 p.m. and you’re in line as a walk-in, you’ll have to wait.

“I would encourage everyone to call in and make an appointment,” Folluo said.

Folluo cited Lee County’s recent uptick in coronavirus infections pointing to the nine that were confirmed over the weekend and Monday.

“We’re up to 77 cases – nine over the weekend and Monday and I strongly suggest that if we’re not 100% serious about making these buildings as safe as possible, than we need to rethink this,” Folluo said.

“My support would be for opening the buildings with proper distancing and masking.”

Supervisor Matt Pflug said he would want to see the county offer masks. The county had purchased 3,000 masks for employees to use during the pandemic, but Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise said there were some inexpensive masks available that the county could purchase and hand out.

Supervisors voted 5-0 to open the buildings with social distancing requirements and mask requirements.

Lee County Sheriff Stacy Weber will place security officers in each building, but said he’s instructed those officers not to arrest anyone that doesn’t have a mask on.

“We’re not going to make arrests because it’s not against the law. If the county chooses to refuse service to those who don’t want to wear one, the county needs to get behind me,” Weber said.

“Or – it’s still America and they are going to do what they need to do. We still live in a very nice polite society so I’m not to worried about it.”

Lee County Health Department Administrator Michele Ross said she has not heard of anyone being required to provide documentation that they can’t wear a mask. But she said guidance from the Centers for Disease Control indicates if someone can’t wear a mask they shouldn’t be forced to, nor should children under the age of 2.

In addition to monitoring for masks, the officers will also be limiting the number of people that can be in the building at one time.

“The fact that we will have officers on the doors regulating how many people are in our buildings, and we are taking social distancing and masking of people, we can safely open the buildings I hope,” Folluo said.

In other action, the board:

• approved a renewal of jail health services with Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Inc. for inmate health services.
• approved a motion to hire an ambulance director to help oversee the transition to a county-owned ambulance service.
• approved three different liquor license for Charleston Board of Trade, Boonies Bar and Grill in Fort Madison, and Cornstock in West Point.

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