County reopens facility lobbies to the public

Friday, December 17, 2021

After a four month closure, Benton County will open public access to all county facility lobbies beginning January 3, 2022. Benton County had one prior opening of facilities on April 26, 2021, but chose to reclose on August 30, 2021 to comply with the State’s business sector guidelines, and to protect employees and residents from the risks of contracting and transmitting COVID-19 and the Delta variant.

At that time, Benton County experienced rapidly increasing case counts and local hospitals were at or over capacity with COVID-19 cases. Since then and throughout the entire pandemic, public health officials and leadership have continued to monitor health metrics in hopes to resume business operations.

“I am relieved and excited to open our County facilities and lobbies back up to the public next year,” shared board chair Xanthippe Augerot. “It is our hope that our community members continue to practice the range of COVID prevention methods such as frequent hand washing and getting a COVID-19 vaccine, which are important measures to prevent the spread of illness. COVID-19 vaccines are safe and provide the best protection against variants, most importantly against severe outcomes including hospitalization and death.”

With the reopening of County facilities, health and safety of Benton County employees and residents remains the County’s highest priority. As lobbies reopen, the community can continue to expect enhanced COVID-19 safety measures at County facilities.

These safety measures include:

  • Check-in stations at the entryway of each County facility which provide hand sanitizer and disposable face masks, and guide individuals that feel sick or have symptoms not to enter the facility and instead to conduct business over the phone or by email.
  • Everyone must wear a face covering or mask while in County facilities.
  • Enhanced cleaning of high-touch surfaces in all County facilities.

Additionally, County services will continue to be available online or over the phone, and in some cases, in-person by appointment. Individuals are requested to conduct business online or over the phone whenever possible. However, there are some services that require individuals to visit our offices in-person. In those limited cases, we ask that you make an appointment prior to arriving at our offices.

The County will continue to utilize the virtual meeting platform, GoToMeeting, to provide public access to Board of Commissioner meetings. County officials strongly encourage all individuals that are able to use the video link or phone number provided to listen to meetings from home. The Board also hosts live stream meetings on Facebook every first, third and fourth Tuesday. Individuals can follow and like Benton County at https://facebook.com/BentonCoGov.

Following each meeting, video recordings will be available on the Benton County YouTube channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEwNH7PIM0c5u7yTnTDoSWw.