After more than a year of being closed to walk-in visits, three offices at the Barron County Government Center will reopen May 1, provided no COVID-19 spikes occur between now and then. The offices that will be open are the Aging and Disability Resource Center, the Veterans Service Office and the Child Support Agency.
The County Board’s Executive Committee had approved closing the offices to the public in 2020, extending the closures twice in 2020 and again through April 30 this year. No action was taken to extend it again.
ADRC Director Jennifer Jako said that the caution was warranted because the population it serves is the most vulnerable. At state request, she is still working closely with Barron County Public Health and is requesting to hold off on the resumption of senior dining sites and the Daybreak respite program.
After the meeting, Barron County Veterans Service Officer Scott Bachowski, USAF SM Sgt. Retired, said, “I am looking forward to in-person visits again; however, I want to stress that appointments must be made ahead of time. We plan to schedule appointments so that we can have time in between appointments to sanitize. We have Plexi dividers on our desks but will ask that all visitors still use a mask and social distance. Our plan is to have the office open Monday through Friday; however, [assistant Veterans Service officer] Tami [Saleska] and I will utilize a schedule in which one of us will be at the office and the other working from home. I have a schedule made out through the end of the year. Our number to schedule appointments is 715-537-6290.”
Child Support Director John Muench told the committee he had no issues with the reopening.
Jako later added, “Barron County Government Center currently mandates a mask or face covering through 4-30-21. If that mandate is extended, the ADRC will continue to follow the mandate with reopening. If the mask mandate is not extended, ADRC staff will follow local Public Health recommendations and keep customers informed of those local recommendations. We will also make accommodations for those that cannot have staff wear a mask, such as those hard of hearing.
“Starting Monday, May 3rd, customers may choose to start seeing our specialists face to face in person by an appointment (recommended), walk-in, or home visit. Staff will follow local public health safety recommendations for these visits, and we will encourage customers to follow recommendations as well. We will still offer phone and virtual appointments for those customers that prefer.”