Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, announced that Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton would be signing a “stay-at-home” order for Ohioans.

That order by Dr. Action went into effect on Monday, March 23, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. It will be in effect until April 6, at which time the situation will be reassessed.

All Ohioans are ordered to stay home at all times, however, there are a few notable exceptions. The order allows for exceptions for “essential activities” that includes: travel for necessary supplies or services, outdoor activities (provided they meet social distancing protocol), work that is deemed “essential” by Homeland Security, and to care for others.

Locally, there have not been any reported “confirmed” cases of COVID-19 in Jackson County, but municipalities are taking additional precautionary actions. Neighboring Gallia County did have its first positive case recently.

City of Jackson:

Jackson Mayor Randy Evans has announced additional precautionary actions since last week.

Evans announced that until further notice, the City of Jackson would be closing the following office lobbies to the public:

- Memorial Building: Call 740-286-2201 or email cityadministration@jacksonohio.us

- Utility Department: Drive-thru will be open, along with a night drop box or over phone from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or visit www.jacksonohio.us to make a payment online at any time. There is a fee for online or over phone.

- City Auditor’s Office: Call 740-286-2423 or email cityauditor@jacksonohio.us

“Despite the disruption, employees will continue to report to work and business with the city can be conducted via phone, email and online resources,” explained Evans. “The public is encouraged to take measures to avoid being exposed to the virus including frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact with people, including public gatherings of any size and taking other social distancing efforts.”

Evans also announced that all City of Jackson parks are open for outside activities, but the playgrounds are closed because they pose a high risk of transmission.

Jackson Police Chief Allen Potter announced that there are changes to Jackson Police Operations in response to the COVID-19 situation.

“The Jackson Police Department is committed to abiding by the CDC recommendations to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” explained Potter. “To safeguard the health of our employees, to continue to protect the health and safety of the public, and to ensure that the high standard of service delivered to the public is not unduly interrupted, the following procedures will be adhered to effective immediately.”

Emergency Calls for Service:

“Officers will continue to respond to all emergency calls for service,” Potter said.

Those emergency calls will include but not be limited to:

- Calls involving violence/probability of violence/threat of violence/death

- Crimes in progress

- Burglar/hold-up alarm calls

- Suspicious person(s)/vehicles(s)

- Ambulance calls involving serious injury/unconsciousness/or possibility of death

“All non-emergency calls for service that require a police report, such as thefts, criminal damage to property or harassing phone calls will be handled over the phone by an officer,” explained Potter. “The complainant will be required to provide all necessary reporting information to the officer.”

Potter added, “The complainant will be provided with a JPD report number and any other follow up information at that time. Please understand that calls of this nature will be prioritized and you may experience a delay compared to the normal response times.”

Public Records Request:

Any public records request can be done via email at dispatch@jacksonohio.us or cbock@jacksonohio.us

“The Jackson Police Department lobby will remain accessible to the public, but only for emergency services,” explained Potter. “Fingerprinting requests, police department’s involvement with non-essential community events, and all food donations delivered to the JDP cannot are suspended at this time.”

Potter added, “The JPD will continue to be available to provide a public service and emergency response to the community as we adapt to prevent further spread of this virus. We appreciate you understanding the need to take these step so we can ensure the safety of our employees and the public.”

Village of Coalton:

Coalton Mayor Kim Milliken announced that Monday, March 23, that the Coalton Village Offices will be closed to the public until further notice.

“This is the office only,” explained Milliken. “Essential services will continue.”

Milliken added, “Scott and Merle will be in the village working daily as they are ‘essential’ workers due to sewer, garbage, cemetery and water issues.”

- Payments: water, sewer and traffic ticket payments are to go in the payment box outside the village office doors. If you need help with sewer issues, call the office at 740-286-6986 and leave a message.

“Your issue will be addressed by Scott in a timely manner,” said Milliken. “There will be no water shut offs during this time and no late charges.”

Milliken said, “If you are paying your bill, please put it in an envelope clearly marked with your name and address and put it in the box outside the front door of the office.”

- Burials: Call Milliken at 740-418-6293.

“The Governor has also ordered us to close the park,” said Milliken. “Thank you for your concern for our safety and for your understanding during this event. We wish the best of health to you and your family; we intend to do our very best to insure that you and your family stay healthy.”

City of Wellston

Wellston Mayor Charlie Hudson told The Courier that starting on Monday, March 23, the Wellston City Building’s lobby will be closed until the Governor lifts the “stay at home” order.

“Please use check, money order or pay online with a credit Card for utility bills,” stated Hudson. “Mail, use the drive up drop box or the box at the side door.”

Hudson added, “City Services such as Garbage will go on as business as usual. Remember grocery, pharmacy, gas, and restaurants for take out will remain open. Please limit one person per family to go out to these places, I saw entire families at Walmart the other day. Remember to wash hands, stay six feet a part and isolate as much as possible.”

Village of Oak Hill

Oak Hill Mayor Paul McNeal announced that there will be a few more changes to Oak Hill’s daily operations.

“Effective Monday, March 23, at 11:59 p.m. the village offices will be closed to the public,” stated McNeal. “You may still call 740-682-6301 during regular hours. You will be assisted, as always.”

McNeal added, “Water bills may be placed in the drop box at the city building during regular hours as well as after hours. Trash pickup will not change at this time, but things the public sees may look a little different. Social distancing will be enforced inside buildings and vehicles. The next few weeks will be a work in progress, but please know we will all work together. Take care and God Bless.”

Oak Hill Police Chief Dave Ward announced some changes to the Oak Hill Police Department’s operations due to COVID-19.

“The Oak Hill Police Department is abiding to the Ohio Department of Health’s order to help reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” explained Ward. “To safeguard the health of our Officers, to continue to protect the health and safety of the public and to ensure that the highest stand of service is delivered to the public the following operating procedures will be put in effect immediately and until further notice.”

Emergency Calls for Service:

“Officers will continue to respond to all emergency calls for service,” Ward said.

These emergency calls will include but not be limited to:

  • Calls involving violence, probability of violence, threat of violence or death
  • Crimes in progress
  • Domestic disturbances
  • Burglar or hold-up alarms
  • Suspicious person(s) or vehicles(s)
  • EMS calls involving serious injury, unconsciousness or the possibility of death
  • Fire calls

“All non-emergency calls for services that require a police report such as thefts, criminal damage to property or harassing phone calls will be handled over the phone by an officer,” stated Ward. “The complainant will be required to provide all necessary reporting information to the officer. Please understand that calls of this nature will be prioritized and you may experience a delay compared to normal response times.”

Public Records Request:

Requests for incident/crash reports can be sent to records@oakhillpd.org or by calling 740-682-6301.

Until further notice, the following services will be suspended:

  • The Oak Hill Municipal Building lobby is closed, except for emergency services
  • Oak Hill Police Department involvement in non-essential community events
  • All visits or requests for Officer(s) to attend functions
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