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Lyon Co. to re-open Government Center

Visits will be by appointment to maintain social distancing

MARSHALL — The Lyon County Government Center will be opening back up to the public this week. But that doesn’t mean that precautions against COVID-19 are going away at the same time.

County offices will be conducting business by appointment only starting on Thursday, Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg said.

Members of the public are also “strongly encouraged” to wear masks when visiting the government center, Stomberg said. There will be hand sanitizer stations set up in the government center, and visitors will also be encouraged to wash their hands at the nearest restroom when they come inside the building, he said.

Lyon County commissioners discussed re-opening the government center during their regular meeting Tuesday morning. They also voted to adopt a COVID-19 preparedness plan, that followed a template set up by the Minnesota Department of Labor.

While commissioners didn’t make any major revisions to the proposed plan on Tuesday, Stomberg said the plan can be revised as conditions change in the future.

Much of the plan approved by commissioners focuses on procedures for county employees to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Employees are being directed to self-screen for coronavirus symptoms, and are eligible for emergency paid sick leave if they are unable to work because they are quarantined or caring for a person who is quarantined. The plan also calls for employees to be informed if they have been in close contact with a co-worker who has COVID-19, and to self-isolate if they have been in close contact.

The plan calls for increased cleaning and disinfecting of work areas, shared areas like break rooms, and surfaces that get touched often, like phones and door handles.

But the preparedness plan also calls for safety measures that affect the public, too. It calls for frequent hand-washing and “respiratory etiquette,” which includes covering coughs or sneezes, and wearing cloth masks. The plan also calls for social distancing at the government center, which is why members of the public will need to make appointments before doing business at the center.

Stomberg said opening county offices by appointment is something he’s hearing other Minnesota counties are doing, to help follow COVID-19 guidance.

Members of the public should call ahead for an appointment before coming to the Lyon County Government Center for services like driver’s license renewals or getting copies of vital records. People can also make appointments online, by going to the Lyon County website, www.lyonco.org.

“We hope that overall, especially with driver’s licenses, it will be a positive thing,” Stomberg said of the new rules. If everyone makes appointments for their business at the government center, that means less waiting in line, as well as helping to maintain social distance, he said.

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