Elkins City Hall Closed Tuesday, March 17

Elkins City Hall is closed Tuesday, March 17, and all non-essential city employees are excused. Essential employees must still report for work. During the day Tuesday, officials will evaluate whether to reopen city hall to the public on Wednesday or whether to implement modified procedures to reduce risk of coronavirus transmission. (Utility bills may be paid online or via the drop box behind city hall.)

This closure is the result of a policy adopted by Elkins city council several years ago–a policy triggered today by Governor Jim Justice’s declaration of a state of emergency for West Virginia and its 55 counties.

“For a number of years, City of Elkins has had a policy of closing in response to a declaration of a countywide emergency,” says Jessica Sutton, the Elkins city clerk. “This policy was clearly created with weather emergencies or perhaps catastrophic events in mind–situations when it both might not be possible for employees to travel to work safely and there might be difficulties calling them directly.”

Sutton acknowledges that the policy needs revisiting.

“Obviously, this policy is not a good fit for the kind of situation we face with coronavirus and the governor’s declaration,” says Sutton. “It’s easy to imagine that the governor’s state of emergency might be in place for quite some time. One good thing is that it does give us the opportunity to carefully consider how we can keep employees and the public as safe as possible from coronavirus.”

Thursday’s council agenda includes an item to consider updates to this policy.

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