Martin County's 3 Phase Re-Open Plan
RE-Opening to the “New Normal” without knowing what that will BE!
Because of our creativity, innovative ideas, and the use of new technology, we preserved operations as best we could by making bold strategic plans with backup plans to prevent services from falling apart. We pivoted to a virtual environment until we exhausted all efforts possible to keep everyone safe and take all measures possible to help stop the spread of the virus. With the uncertainly of the “new normal” changing rapidly every day, decisions were hard to make and how and when to transition back was a challenge. We have left our virtual environment in place if we suddenly or unexpectantly have to pivot back.
Once we had the installation of our glass shields and barriers finished, we felt much more confident that we could open safely to the public. We designed barriers with protective shields to provide no physical contact between the clerks and the customers to keep both constituents and our staff safe and make them feel comfortable that they were protected, because we care about the people we serve and our staff. We followed the Governor’s safe, step-by-step guidelines, DOH, CDC, and OSHA recommendations and had written a three phase plan with the Governor’s taking baby steps plan following his mitigation strategies along with the framework sent down by the white house.
• We opened the two largest offices first to issue just driver’s licenses ONLY to catch up the three month backlog of driver’s licenses and ID cards. The reason being that the Governor’s order had extended the expiration dates, and the state would not allow them to renew online.
• Clients were limited to driver’s license and ID transactions for the first two weeks.
• Two separate stations were set-up for students needing learner’s permits and first time drivers.
• Walk-ins were limited to Martin County residents to limit the crowd.
• Everyone was required to wear a mask.
• Only the person conducting business was allowed in the office.
• Once inside, social distancing was practiced and clients were limited to only 10 at a time in the office and a mask had to be worn while inside.
• Palm City and Indiantown branches remained closed to the public, so they could continue to process same day/next day tag, titles, towing & storage, dealer work and answering phones so the two large offices could focus on reducing the backlog of driver’s licenses. No other services were backlogged because we had been processing them online, by phone, by mail, and curbside pickup during the “Stay at Home Order.”
• The tax department opened to the public on the second week, limiting clients to Martin County residents, wearing a mask, but limited to only 4 clients in the office at a time and to only the individual doing the transaction.
• After issuing only driver’s licenses for two weeks at the two large offices, we opened all offices (except Indiantown) to full services
• We kept mitigation practices in place (masks, gloves, social distancing, following CDC guidelines)
• Indiantown remained closed to the public and processed virtual services and answered phones.
• Indiantown was planned to reopen with full services on June 8th.
• Planned to open TSA Pre √/TWIC, concealed weapons licenses, and HAZMAT.
• CDL tractor-trailer driver’s licenses (ANY COUNTY) will not be restricted to Martin County residents.
We appreciate the CDL driver’s dedication in transporting medical supplies and keeping our food chain moving. We want to help keep them on the road. We are grateful and thankful for their service.
In all three phases, we asked clients to NOT pay by cash if possible (viruses can live on paper bills). Payment could be made by check or E-check (we can do for them in our system), or use Apple, Samsung, or Google pay. Payment could be made by credit card/debit card (card processor charges a fee which we get no part of).
We strictly followed CDC guidelines instructing clients to stay home if they were sick, or had symptoms of COVID-19, such as cough, fever, shortness of breath, or had been in contact with a person known to have COVID-19.
Keeping the health and safety of our taxpayers and our staff as the top priority, we opened safely and miraculously kept the revenue coming in at the same level that we needed to fund our essential services. Hands down to the hard-working, quick thinking, and flexible staff at the tax collector’s office! All expectations were exceeded. No one got sick and no one lost their job! God has blessed us all!
We provided a comfortable protected environment for our staff and constituents at all four Tax Collector’s offices.
We maintained social distancing within the office by:
• Providing barriers with protective shields to provide no physical contact between constituents and staff a to ensure a comfortable protected environment
• Providing adequate markings to maintain social distancing while in line and within the office