City of Newberry to modify operations amid COVID-19 pandemic

Elyssa Haven for The Newberry Observer

NEWBERRY — City of Newberry staff are closely monitoring the spread of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, with local, state and federal health partners and are taking precautions in preparation for a potential impact to the community.

Effective Tuesday, March 17, the City of Newberry will modify its services until further notice, in an effort to minimize opportunities to potentially spread the virus within the community. Essential operations, including police, fire, public works and utilities, will continue to serve residents.

Taking the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) recommendations into consideration, the city will take the following precautionary measures which include encouraging customers to conduct business over the phone, email or online. Until further notice, all city offices are closed to the public.

Utility bill payments will be accepted by mail, through the City Hall drive-thru, overnight deposit box or online (www.cityofnewberry.com/city-services/finance-department). The online convenience fee will be waived during this time for customers paying their bills online. PayGo utility customers can also visit participating retail stores in order to pay bills.

During the current state of emergency proclaimed by Governor Henry McMaster, utility cutoffs for all essential utility services to include water, sewer and electricity will be postponed. However, the city encourages regular payment for customers to stay current with their account when normal operations continue. The City of Newberry recognizes that some customers may experience hardships during this time. If you are facing financial difficulties, contact the city’s finance department at 803-321-1007 for additional information.

Customers that wish to request a cut-on cut-off of services can still do so by contacting the city’s finance department at 803-321-1007.

Business license payments can also be taken at the link above. Applications should be emailed to samick@cityofnewberry.com and questions can be directed by phone at 803-321-1007.

The city’s public works department will continue normal collection routes, while limiting employee-to-employee and employee-to-public contact. Decontamination of uniforms, equipment, etc. will also be performed each day. Should customers need to contact the department directly, they may call 803-321-1020.

For the safety of officers, staff and the public, City of Newberry police and fire departments will restrict public access to their buildings and maintain social distancing, when possible, when interacting with the public. The Newberry police and fire departments encourage residents to call them directly at 803-321-1010 (police) and 803-321-1030 (fire) for non-emergencies between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. After hours non-emergency calls can be made to dispatch at 803-321-2222. All emergency calls need to be directed to 911.

Municipal Court jury trials are being postponed at this time, as directed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. These trials will be rescheduled for a later date. Fines and fees are encouraged to be mailed or paid online by visiting www.cityofnewberry.com/city-services/finance-department and clicking on court fines and fees tab. Should you have a concern regarding your case, contact Deana Linowski, clerk of court at 803-321-3720.

The city’s Planning and Development Services department will continue regularly scheduled inspections, while maintaining a safe social distance while on sites. Permit applications can be emailed to permits@cityofnewberry.com and payment can be taken online at www.cityofnewberry.com/city-services/finance-department and clicking on the permit fees tab. For questions, regarding permits, contact the department directly at 803-321-1019.

The City of Newberry’s Parks, Recreation and Tourism offices, public parks and facilities are closed to the public during this time. Additionally, all programs have been suspended until further notice, to include youth and adult athletics, Newberry Arts Center programs, Newberry Firehouse Conference Center events/rentals, Oakland Tennis Center programs, Senior Adult programs and park shelter and cabin rentals. If the need to conduct business is necessitated, call the Parks, Recreation and Tourism office at 803-321-1015.

For questions regarding employment applications, email Human Resources at jboice@cityofnewberry.com or call 803-321-1000.

Should city utility customers experience a utility-related emergency during business hours, they can get assistance by calling 803-321-1018. After hours, customers should call 803-276-0311.

The City of Newberry’s number one priority is always the health and safety of its citizens, employees, volunteers and guests. The city will reevaluate these changes as more information becomes available. The City of Newberry’s website and social media accounts will be updated regularly to reflect these changes.

Elyssa Haven for The Newberry Observer

Elyssa Haven is the Public Relations Coordinator at City of Newberry.

Elyssa Haven is the Public Relations Coordinator at City of Newberry.