The doors are locked, but they’re still working

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Mount Olive town government continues to operate normally, but until further notice is under lockdown to the public.

Town Manager Charles Brown had said offices would be open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. That was quickly changed due to the inability to obtain protective gear to set up four checkpoints at town hall.

People entering Mount Olive Town Hall during those initial plans would have been required to go through checkpoints to the entrance at the water department, police department, town manager/mayor administrative offices and the inspections office. Brown, at that time, said temperatures would have been taken before entrance was allowed.

But officials were not able to obtain the needed protective gear to operate the four entry points.

That was last Tuesday.

Plans changed over the next 24 hours.

Brown said last Thursday that all town facilities are closed to the public until further notice.

His original press release made it clear that the top priority of officials is “the health and safety of the community.”

“We are taking the current spread of COVID-19 very seriously and are working closely with county, state and federal agencies in monitoring this situation,” Brown said. “While there have been some changes to town operations, all necessary arrangements are being made to ensure that all town services are provided during this evolving situation.”

Brown explained that some of the changes were already made to limit the spread of the virus and other diseases:

  • All residents are encouraged to conduct utility payments with the town by depositing payment in the Town Hall utilities payment drop box located outside of the town’s water department entrance. He said those wishing to pay in cash should obtain a money order and use the drop box.
  • Online credit card payments are also accepted at townofmountolivenc.org. “We are asking that residents bear with us as we work to adapt to this rapidly changing situation,” said Brown.
  • All residents must conduct business with the town by calling 919-658-9539 during normal business hours on Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Town personnel are working and can answer questions by phone or other electronic means.
  • Brown said that town recreation and parks programs are suspended until at least April 6.
  • He also reminded residents of Governor Roy Cooper’s executive order that mandates restaurants must go to take-out and delivery only.
  • Grocery stores and fuel establishments continue to operate with some adjustments in hours of operation.

    “As one who always tries to look for the bright side, I have learned that Wuhan, China, where this all began, has had their first day with no reported cases,” Brown stated in his latest press release. “Minimizing contact in order to prevent the spread of the disease is most important at this time.”

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