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Posted on: March 23, 2020

COVID-19 Response in Whitehall

COVID

Last updated: 4:45 p.m., Tuesday, April 7

As a partner in promoting public health, and ensuring the safety and well-being of Whitehall residents, the City of Whitehall is continually engaging with the State of Ohio and Franklin County Public Health as the situation surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19) evolves. We are implementing appropriate adjustments to City operations, without compromising any of our core health-safety services such as police, fire and emergency medical services.

Our main goals throughout this situation are as follows:

  • Protect employees and their families from infection or spread of COVID-19.
  • Maintain services as much as possible through any form of infectious outbreak.
  • Reduce or eliminate the infection or spreading of COVID-19 to our community members, with a focus on at-risk individuals. At-risk individuals, as defined by the CDC, are older adults (above 60 and even more focus for above 70), and those with current health conditions such as heart problems, diabetes, lung issues, etc.
  • Minimizing adverse effects on other entities or partners (i.e., Franklin County, City of Columbus, and local medical facilities, etc.)

STATE OF EMERGENCY AND COMMUNITY GUIDELINES

Mayor Kim Maggard has proclaimed a State of Emergency in the City of Whitehall. Since that time, Mayor Maggard has issued community guidelines that mirror the orders and guidelines issued by the State of Ohio. View the most recent proclamation here and the State of Ohio’s Amended Stay at Home Order here. In addition to the Stay at Home Order, Mayor Maggard has established a community-wide curfew which also stipulates that there shall be no unnecessary outdoor activities between the hours of 12 a.m. (midnight) and 6 a.m. This curfew is to better allow the Division of Police to identify crimes of opportunity occurring in our increasingly vacated business district. It does not apply to essential activities such as reporting to work.

The Whitehall Division of Police will be increasing community patrolling to ensure compliance with the Stay at Home Order. Should you be found to be engaging in non-essential business or activities, it is an arrestable offense. We cannot impress the importance of taking these preventative measures seriously enough. If we work together, we can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.

COMMUNITY GUIDELINES:

  • In line with the state-wide Stay at Home Order, all residents are required to stay in their homes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This order prohibits holding gatherings of any size and closes all nonessential businesses. This is mandatory, not just guidance and violation of this order is an arrestable offense.
  • There shall be no unnecessary outdoor activities in the City of Whitehall between the hours of 12 a.m. (midnight) and 6 a.m.
  • Essential activities are still allowed, including visiting grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, police stations, fire stations, hospitals, clinics and healthcare operations, garbage and recycling collection, public transportation and access to public benefits (SNAP, Medicaid, etc.).
  • Essential businesses will remain open during the Stay at Home order to provide services that are vital to the lives of Ohioans. Those businesses include, but are not limited to, pharmacies, certain government offices, and restaurants providing take-out meals. If you work for an essential business, you should continue to practice social distancing and should stay at home outside of work hours.
  • In addition to these measures, take common sense measures to monitor and protect your health. All community members are directed to complete temperature checks, and to self-quarantine in the event of the onset of symptoms consistent with COVID-19 until cleared by medical professionals. For a full list of preventative measures and COVID-19 symptoms, please reference this information from Franklin County Public Health >>
  • Some non-essential businesses that are closed include: all gyms, fitness centers, recreation centers, bowling alleys, indoor water parks, movie theaters, and trampoline parks. Additionally, new to the Stay at Home order, while parks remain open, all playgrounds are now closed.
  • Similarly, all restaurants and bars have been ordered to close, except for carry-out and delivery functions. Please continue to patronize our local businesses by ordering carry-out and delivery and if you are able, please consider tipping your servers and delivery carriers. Learn about Whitehall businesses open for delivery and carry-out here >>

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

We’re all in this together. The City recognizes that there are many in our community who may be immunocompromised, elderly, impoverished or otherwise unable to access food, medication and other resources during this crisis. Visit the COVID-19 Resource page for the following information: 

  • A form to request assistance
  • A form to offer your volunteer services 
  • Senior resources
  • Student resources
  • Unemployment application information
  • Food banks
  • A list of local restaurants carry-out/delivery options
  • A list of local grocery stores, noting those that offer curbside pick-up and special senior hours

CHANGES TO CITY OPERATIONS AND SERVICES

CITY HALL 

The City of Whitehall has reduced the number of non-essential staff reporting to City Hall through May 1. Additionally, a number of essential staff members are reporting remotely from home. This will not impact any health-safety services such as those provided by our police officers, firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

While City Hall is open for drop-offs from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m., for the safety of those staff members still reporting to City Hall, no offices are open to the public. See below for details of how to continue business with the City. As we continue essential operations, we appreciate your patience as a reduced staff work to complete a full workload.

CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS

The Tuesday, April 7 City Council Voting meeting will be conducted digitally and is not physically open to the public. The meeting will be live-streamed to Facebook and posted to YouTube by April 8. Should anyone wish to submit a written message to be read during Poll Public, please email Clerk of Council Julie Ogg at julie.ogg@whitehall-oh.us by 5 p.m. on Monday, April 6. The message should still follow the rules of Poll Public - available here: https://www.whitehall-oh.us/356/Poll-Public-Rules. View the agenda (once available) online here: http://www.whitehall-oh.us/AgendaCenter/City-Council-1. Please stay tuned as future meeting dates and times are determined.

POLICE AND FIRE 

Our police officers, firefighters and EMTs are working 24/7 to keep our community safe during this public health crisis.  As the risk of contracting COVID-19 increases, residents will notice some changes to in-person interactions with police and fire personnel. This may include personnel maintaining six-feet from residents, and asking residents to step outside of their homes if possible. Please remember to practice social distancing if you encounter safety personnel and when possible, please file police reports online. File a police report online here >>

Additionally, our emergency dispatchers have started asking screening questions to identify if an individual is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Please answer the questions truthfully. No one will be denied services because of how they answer or because they may have COVID-19. The screening questions simply help our officers and EMTs know whether personal protective equipment, like face masks, are necessary.  

TAX DIVISION - CITY AUDITOR’S OFFICE

The City Auditor has extended the filing deadline for 2019 local income tax returns by 90-days (from April 15 to July 15). The City Auditor’s Office will be closed to the public until further notice, however, a reminder that for full-year residents, local income tax filings can be made online. Start here: https://www.whitehall-oh.us/134/File-Taxes. A reminder that the State of Ohio and the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) have also extended their 2019 tax filing deadlines to July 15. 

BUILDING DEPARTMENT 

The Building Department, while closed to the public, is accepting permit applications for essential construction only. View the Stay at Home Order here for guidance on what construction is essential. The Building Department will not issue permits that are inconsistent with the order. This is at the discretion of the Public Service Director. Those needing to submit applications or plans may do so by using the drop-box inside City Hall or e-mailing building-department@whitehall-oh.us. Questions may also be directed to (614) 237-8612. View permit information online here >>

MAYOR’S COURT OPERATIONS

(Last updated April 7): Due to the extension of the Stay at Home Order and recognizing other COVID-19 precautions, all Mayor’s Court cases are being stayed per the following updated schedule: 

Original Court Date:Rescheduled Court Date:
March 17June 2 (Rescheduled from April 14)
March 24June 9 (Rescheduled from April 21)
March 31June 16 (Rescheduled from April 28)
April 7June 23 (Rescheduled from May 5)

These changes will be reevaluated to determine if further rescheduling is necessary. Additionally, Presiding Magistrate Sean Maxfield and his staff will conduct as many pre-trial conferences via telecommunication as possible. Case-by-case exceptions to continuances may be ordered. Further, the Mayor’s Court is not limited in its ability to rule on motions. Electronic filing continues to be available.

For more information on courts in Franklin County please reference the following websites:

PARKS & RECREATION PROGRAMMING 

All Parks & Recreation programs have been cancelled for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the Whitehall Senior Center is now closed. The City encourages anyone that may is sick, or that may have potentially been exposed to COVID-19, to voluntarily abstain from visiting our parks and recreational facilities. 

Event and Facility Notices:

  • Playgrounds: While parks remain open for socially distant outdoor activities (walking, jogging, etc.), all playgrounds and sports courts are closed. 
  • Senior Center: Closed to all activities. AARP Tax Preparation is cancelled as well.

CIVIC PARTICIPATION

  • Primary Election Voting: The State of Ohio has extended the voting deadline for the March primary election to June 2, 2020. The new deadline for applying for a mail-in ballot for the June 2 primary election is May 26. Apply for an absentee ballot here >>
  • 2020 Census: Invitations to respond to the 2020 Census have now been mailed to all households. The Census can be responded to online, by phone or by mail. To help ensure a complete and accurate count, and to limit the number of individuals who need to go door-to-door in Whitehall, please respond as soon as you receive your invitation. Once you have your invitation, you can begin your response online here >>

WHITEHALL CITY SCHOOLS

Governor DeWine has issued a new order, keeping school districts across the State of Ohio closed through at least May 1. This date will be reevaluated as it approaches. 

Free student lunches: Whitehall City Schools is providing a grab-and-go style lunch for all Whitehall students in front of Whitehall Yearling High School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday (starting Tuesday, March 17). Students will be encouraged to take their lunch and exit the property.

Please stay tuned to their website and social media pages for more information as the situation for students evolves. Whitehall City Schools Website / Whitehall City Schools Facebook

STOP THE SPREAD: PREVENTION MEASURES

COVID-imageThe City does stress the importance of protecting yourselves and your family by taking common-sense steps to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Should an individual in your family have a preexisting health condition, consult with your doctor on appropriate steps your family should take. 

We also encourage any resident who has access to tele-medicine to use that service when possible for routine medical issues (colds, minor injuries, etc.) so that our emergency rooms and hospitals can focus on serving the severely ill. 

For more prevention resources reference the following links: 



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