The city of Worthington has been opening its offices to the public after the shutdown for the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The offices had been closed since March 18.

As of May 11, the city clerk and mayor’s court clerk had started working from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the Worthington Municipal Building, 6550 High St.

Meanwhile, the Worthington Service & Engineering and Planning & Building departments also were open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. weekdays.

However, residents still are encouraged to conduct business by phone, email or online whenever possible, said city spokesperson Anne Brown.

“Although we have been working very efficiently, even though our offices have been closed, we understand that it’s important for people to come in and talk to us when they need to,” Brown said.

The city is honoring safety measures recommended by Columbus Public Health, the city’s contracted health agency, and Gov. Mike DeWine’s administration, said Worthington City Council President Bonnie Michael.

“I think that it’s the right time to be doing some very careful opening of some facilities,” Michael said. “They’re being very careful of social distancing.

“The city’s been very careful about taking precautions and opening the offices for business but making sure the staff and people coming in are going to be protected.”

Counter windows are covered with plexiglass partitions, and residents are asked to wear masks indoors and use available hand sanitizer in the lobby.

Those leaving material for the service-and-engineering and planning-and-building departments may do so at designated drop-boxes in the lobby. The city also will set up appointments with those seeking a face-to-face interview, but only one person will be admitted at a time.

In addition, some public services that had been on hold will resume, such as street sweeping and repairs to storm basins, hydrants, streets and traffic signals, Brown said.

Yard-waste drop-offs will be available from 7:30 to 11:00 a.m. weekdays until further notice. Residents should pull up to the gate and call the service office at 614-431-2425.

However, the city is not taking permit requests for garage sales, block parties or door-to-door permits, Brown said.

Although parks and maintenance crews are returning to full staffing levels, the Worthington Community Center, the Griswold Center and park facilities and their restrooms also remain closed, she said.

The police and fire buildings remain closed to the public, too, although limited in-person fire inspections for time-sensitive situations will resume.

Brown said the city is taking recommendations from the public-health officials and watching for updates to state orders before bringing more employees working remotely back into the buildings.

“I think we’ve been actually conducting business very well and openly during this time,” she said. “We’ve been able to help customers and answer questions, even though much of our staff has been working remotely.”

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary