Home News COVID-19 Situation County buildings to reopen to the public

County buildings to reopen to the public

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Lisa Dunlap Photo The county will reopen its buildings to the public Monday. The Treasurer’s Office is preparing for visitors by instituting guidelines for social distancing.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Chaves County will reopen its buildings and offices to the public Monday, County Manager Stanton Riggs announced Friday.

“We will have social distancing. We will have barriers put up all throughout the county, those offices that deal with the public,” he said. “We will have office limits. There will be a limit of how many people can be in an office. We won’t have building limits, per se.”

He said that offices such as the Treasurer’s Office, the Clerk’s Office, the Planning and Zoning Office, and the Assessor’s Office that typically serve walk-ins will be in charge of monitoring the number of people allowed in their areas.

Riggs also said that county employees who deal with the public will wear masks and gloves, and he suggested that members of the public who come to office buildings also wear masks.

While the state and county are following the direction of the New Mexico Supreme Court in recommending absentee voting for the primaries, Area D of the Chaves County Administrative Center will open May 5 for early voting. Riggs said mask-wearing is also encouraged for early voters.

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Riggs also said that the Treasurer’s Office is anticipating quite a few people making property tax payments, which are due May 10, and is finishing preparations for that.

The county decided to close most of its buildings to the public on March 20 as the concerns about COVID-19 had led the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the New Mexico Governor’s Office to call for social distancing, limited gatherings and other preventive measures. While closed, the county still allowed service by phone, by appointments, online or by drive-up windows.

The exception to the public closure was the Chaves County Courthouse on North Virginia Avenue. That remained open for people without symptoms who were required to conduct court-related business.

Riggs said that the county also will resume taking city inmates into the Chaves County Detention Center starting Monday. He said there was a time when it was not accepting inmates for brief stays because of concerns about coronavirus infections. He said the CCDC has not had a diagnosed case of COVID-19.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.