Niagara County Legislature Chairwoman Becky Wydysh and Niagara County Manager Rick Updegrove on Tuesday announced the following series of closings and service reductions as county government complies with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s mandate to reduce staff reporting to government offices by 50%. This mandate, they said, will promote social distancing and curtail the spread of COVID-19.
“It is our expectation the closings and changes we are announcing today will be in effect minimally for the next two weeks dependent on further direction from the governor,” Wydysh said. “However, we will be constantly reviewing our operations and, if we recognize a way to respond to an important need in a way that still complies with the governor’s mandate, we will certainly do so.”
Updegrove said, “We are attempting to be as complete as possible with the list we are releasing today, but please understand the situation is constantly evolving. I would recommend those who need to interact with county departments to please call ahead. A complete list of county departments and phone numbers can be found at niagaracounty.com.”
The following is from Niagara County:
·Congregate dining sites are closed effective Tuesday, March 17. Any current program participant who wishes to call directly can contact us at 716-438-3030 for more information. We will work with senior housing sites to modify program delivery in order to serve those most in need.
·Wellness programs: Effective immediately, site directors will begin contacting regular participants to notify them of the cancellations.
·Home visits: Effective immediately, NCOFA staff will contact those who have appointments scheduled to inform them that appointments will now be via phone whenever possible.
·Home-delivered meals: This program will continue as usual, but with safety precautions put in place. Contact between delivery personnel and participants will be kept to a six-foot distance. Delivery personnel will contact participants a few minutes before arriving and ask that their door be unlocked, if they don’t already have a location where a meal can be set that can be safely accessed by the participant. Delivery personnel and participants will still have a visual contact to ensure the participant is safe.
·Senior transportation: We will attempt to keep this program in place for as long as we can. It’s a very fluid situation. If there are positive cases identified in Niagara, service may be suspended to protect seniors. Staff will be calling to see if you are still in need of your ride to critical appointments such as dialysis or chemotherapy treatments, etc. We encourage you to reschedule non-critical routine appointments for your own protection. Drivers have been provided with surface wipes, hand sanitizer, and information on personnel safety protocols.
·Attorney for the elderly: Our attorney for the elderly will suspend all services except Tuesdays from 1:30-3:30 at the Niagara County OFA office at 111 Main St., Lockport. We will practice social distancing and have appropriate safeguards in place during this time to ensure everyone’s safety. If you need legal assistance during this time, we encourage you to contact Gary Billingsley by phone at 716-434-5783 instead of an in-person visit. A revised April schedule will be posted on the Niagara County Office for the Aging Facebook page very soon.
Board of Elections
All upcoming inspector machine/certification classes scheduled for the Wheatfield Community Center and Cornell Cooperative Extension are cancelled until further notice.
The civil service exams scheduled for next Saturday, March 28, is postponed. For civil service matters, please email [email protected].
·The Niagara County Clerk's Office is offering limited services. However, the three DMV locations in Lockport, North Tonawanda and Niagara Falls, as well as Veterans Service Agency, historian's office, pistol permit and passport offices, are closed until further notice. Please call 716-439-7022 with questions.
·The victim impact panel scheduled for April 21 at 7 p.m. at NCCC is cancelled.
•The Center for Economic Development is closed. Staff is available via email.
The following meetings have been cancelled:
Employment and Training
•Niagara’s WorkSource1 One Stop Center is closed.
•Spring career fair scheduled for March 25 is cancelled.
•Summer youth employment applications can be left at front security desk or submitted online.
•The work experience youth program will be temporarily suspended. Participants should await further instructions from employment and training staff prior to returning to their respective worksites.
•Household hazardous waste collection events on April 18 and May 16 are cancelled until further notice.
•The rabies clinic scheduled for Saturday, March 21, in the Town of Somerset is cancelled.
•The nursing division will be closing all clinics effective immediately. This includes sexual health center, immunization clinic and Tb clinic. They will be closed until April 20. All evidence-based classes will also be cancelled until April 20.
•Staff availability will be limited and reduced, internal and external customers are encouraged to deal with the human resources office and communicate via phone and by email.
•Any meetings involving external and contract agencies will be offered via WebEx or teleconference.
•The quarterly Community Services Board subcommittee meeting that was scheduled for Wednesday, March 18, has been postponed.
•Our mental health and substance abuse clinics and community-based services remain open. However, services delivered may be delivered via telephonic intervention where appropriate. If you have a scheduled appointment, we will contact you in advance to discuss.
•If you are a new client interested in receiving services, please contact our office for guidance prior to coming to the program.
•Crisis Services (716-285-3515) will remain open to provide support and services to individuals who are experiencing a mental health or other related crisis.
•Cuomo encouraged people today to take walks in the park in an effort to get fresh air. The public is welcome in Niagara County parks, but please recognize restrooms and other amenities are not currently available.
·All project meetings will be conducted via conference call.
·Weights and measures will keep all scheduled truck scale inspections appointments.
•County retirees should refrain from visiting our office at 111 Main St., to make payments for health care contributions and instead use U.S. mail. We also ask that active employees with benefit questions utilize phone or email communication, as the office will be minimally staffed.
·Please call the Department of Social Services before coming to the office. We may be able to answer your questions or concerns by phone without the need for an office visit. The phone number for the Niagara County Department of Social Services is 716-278-8400.
·Our staff are currently reaching out to clients that have scheduled eligibility appointments and they will be conducting those interviews by phone.
·“Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting” (MAPP) classes canceled until further notice.
·If you need to speak to your assigned child welfare or CPS caseworker, please contact them directly before visiting the office.
·For those who regularly make payments in our office, tough we are still accepting cash payments in person, we would strongly encourage you to send them in the mail whenever possible.
·The treasurer's office will be open from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. beginning tomorrow through March 27.