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No timetable to reopen city building to public, Weirton officials say

OPERATIONS UPDATE — Weirton Assistant City Manager DeeAnn Pulliam speaks at the beginning of an operations update held by city officials Thursday afternoon in the council chambers of the Weirton Municipal Building. (Photo by Craig Howell)

WEIRTON — Assistant City Manager DeeAnn Pulliam said the city continues to take precautions while providing services to the community.

Those precautions including having the Municipal Building closed to the public, while encouraging residents to pay their bills either by mail, by a drop box or through the city’s online payment portal.

“The City of Weirton Municipal Building has remained closed to the public, and will be so for the foreseeable future,” Pulliam said.

She explained, however, the city has resumed municipal court hearings, and those receiving a notice to appear before the city judge are still expected to do so, despite the virus.

“You must appear,” she said. “It will not be an excuse.”

Police Chief Rob Alexander announced all of his officers are healthy, and the department continues to take preventive measures, including sanitizing all of its equipment and vehicles.

“We’re still answering the majority of calls from the mobile units,” Alexander said, explaining the effort cuts back on contact opportunities. For non-emergency calls, an officer in charge will take the call and decide whether response from an officer is needed. In those instances, residents may still be asked to step outside of their homes or business. “Whatever we can handle from the phone, we’ll handle from the phone.”

Alexander also said he has been in contact with health and emergency officials in Hancock and Brooke counties, discussing some of the recent positive cases of COVID in the area. He relayed that the latest cases in the counties have been determined to come as a result of travel and community spread, and not simply because of an increase in testing.

“Brooke County is about half and half,” he said. “Hancock County advises the majority of theirs is because of community spread.”

Alexander recommended residents continue to take the precautions suggested by local and state officials, including washing their hands regularly and wearing a mask while in public settings. If traveling, he suggested purchasing groceries and supplies locally beforehand, if possible, and taking them on the trip.

Fire Chief Kevin Himmelrick announced his department is currently at normal operating capacity. He explained there are two firefighters currently on medical leave in connection with response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and said there briefly were some firefighters quarantined as a result of suspected exposure, but those tests came back negative.

“As of yet, we have not had a positive test in our department,” he said.

Himmelrick also noted that, for as long as the municipal offices are closed to the public, the fire department will not be offering CPR and other training to the public. For residents with questions, he recommended calling (304) 797-8500, ext. 2001, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Millsop Community Center reopened to the public on June 8, reminded Parks Director Coty Shingle.

“We’re open about 40 percent capacity right now,” he said, explaining they were going to hold off on expanding those availabilities in light of recent increases in positive COVID cases.

The first time a patron enters the center, they will be asked to sign a waiver, explaining the procedures used to limit exposure. Masks also are being required whenever social distancing isn’t possible.

“If you can’t maintain social distance, you must wear a mask,” Shingle said.

Group exercise classes have returned, although with limited capacity, and Shingle recommended calling (304) 797-8520 to check on availability. Rocksteady Boxing will not return until at least September, he said.

In addition, he reminded that while Starvaggi Memorial Park and Marland Heights Park, as well as shelter rentals, are open, Starvaggi Pool will be closed this summer.

(Howell can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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