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Virus-proofing costs local governments

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Local governments are trying to find ways to save taxpayer dollars while virus-proofing public offices, but some items just cost money.

The town of Bailey has opted to use the outside drop box at Town Hall to create distance, said Mayor Thomas Richards.

“We have a payment drop box if customers prefer not to enter the town hall,” Richards said.

Middlesex Mayor Lu Harvey Lewis purchased materials for $500 and completed the work himself to save money on labor.

Lewis installed a Plexiglas shield at the front counter of Town Hall.

The shield covers the entire length of the counter with about 4 inches between the shield and the counter so paperwork can be passed between customers and the town clerk, Lewis said.

“It will stay up,” Lewis said. “We won’t take it down.”

Lewis also added a door to the office area that requires a key code to open.

Lewis said it’s a safety measure for the employees more than anything else.

“We wanted to do that anyway,” Lewis said.

Spring Hope Town Manager Jae Kim said the town is planning on adding sneeze guards to both the front office entrance and at the drive-thru window. The town doesn’t have cost estimates yet.

The Nash County Board of Commissioners is serious about the need to protect staff and the public to the greatest extent possible, said County Manager Zee Lamb.

“Our facility maintenance team has surveyed our county buildings and has recommended quite a few permanent barriers be erected between our employees’ work stations and the public for the protection of everyone due to the COVID-19 threat,” Lamb said.

So far, the county has spent or plans to spend around $45,000 on Plexiglas guards and modifications.

The Nash County Sheriff’s Office has ordered $8,697 in personal protective equipment items the agency doesn’t normally order. Those items include masks, face shields, disposable gowns and foot coverings, said Chief Deputy Brandon Medina.