While no positive COVID-19 cases have been identified in Blair or Washington County, city and county officials are monitoring the situation and heeding the recommendations of Three Rivers Public Health Department and Gov. Pete Ricketts.
"We applaud all citizens, restaurants and bars for their voluntary compliance with Gov. Ricketts' control initiatives to date," Blair Mayor Rich Hansen said in a press release.
Those initiatives include no public gatherings of more than 10 people.
"The City of Blair does not have the authority to issue orders under the city code," Hansen said.
While the City of Omaha mayor has issued compliance orders, the City of Blair can only follow the lead of the governor and the health department, Hansen added.
Until the governor issues official "directed health measures" through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, the directives do not carry the full force of the law that allows police or the health department to enforce them, the release said.
The City of Blair will close the lobby to city hall, City Administrator Rod Storm said Thursday.
“Employees will be here answering the phones and conducting business as best they can, but the lobby will be closed to the public,” Storm said.
Residents can still call 402-426-4191for an appointment if they need a face-to-face meeting with city staff. Residents are asked to make all utility payments by mail, bank pay, by utilizing the drop box located next to the city hall drive through or by calling and using a credit card.
The Blair Police Department lobby will also be closed to residents except by appointment. Residents can call 402-426-4747 for Blair police.
Washington County will restrict public access to county facilities, including the courthouse, beginning Monday, according to Board of Supervisors Chairman Steve Dethlefs. Information on how to conduct business with the county will be posted to the county's website, www.co.washington.ne.us.
All Washington County offices will be open for business via phone call, email and regular mail.
If a matter cannot be resolved remotely, residents are encouraged to contact the office they need to do business with and make an appointment so that the matter can be resolved. Residents must call or e-mail ahead for an appointment as the doors at county facilities will be locked and access will only be granted to those who have called or e-mailed ahead for a scheduled appointment time.
The City of Fort Calhoun suspended all unofficial city functions at the city office and library until further notice as a precautionary measure related to COVID-19.
"This includes the library, it's going to be closed," Mayor Mitch Robinson said during a city council meeting Monday.
Park board meetings and enhancement committee meetings will not take place. Planning commission meetings will only take place if there is a necessary agenda item.
Robinson said the city office will remain open at the present time.
"Depending on how things go, that could change because we got, we're working on giving some of our gals the ability to remote access into our programs and stuff so that if need be they can work from home," he said.
Blair, Fort Calhoun and Washington County will move their council and board meetings to an online format.
On Tuesday, Ricketts issued an executive order to permit state and local governmental boards, commissions and other public bodies to meet by videoconference, teleconference or other electronic means through May 31.
The order stipulated that all virtual meetings must be available to members of the public to give citizens the opportunity to participate as well as be duly informed of the meetings' proceedings.
Blair City Administrator Rod Storm said Tuesday's city council meeting will be postponed until March 31 to give staff time to prepare procedures to conduct the meeting by teleconference.
The Washington County Board of Supervisors is planning to conduct meetings electronically using Zoom Meetings until state restrictions on gatherings are relaxed or removed. According to information provided, the county is planning to do so until at least June 23.