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The Athens-Clarke County City Hall is located at 301 College Ave. (Photo/Jason Born)

The Athens-Clarke County government announced changes to its operations, including changes with police services, court services and public utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in a press release Monday.

There are five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in ACC as of noon Wednesday, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

The ACC Police Department will continue to respond in-person to cases involving life safety, as well as when other methods of reporting are unavailable or not feasible. However, residents are encouraged to use the ACCPD’s online reporting portal or report by phone when possible.

Residents should contact police by telephone before coming into stations for routine services. These routine services will be handled online or by telephone as much as possible, according Monday’s release. Live scan fingerprinting for background checks will be unavailable.

The ACC Water Business Office will be closed for in-person transactions until further notice. Residents who need to pay their water bill can do so by mail, online bank draft or the dropbox at the Public Utilities Department building. Public Utilities will not terminate water services for customers with past due bills for 60 days after March 13, according to a previous announcement.

Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold D. Melton declared a statewide judicial emergency from March 14 to April 13. Athens courts will scale back operations during that time, according to the release.

Offices for the Clerk of State and Superior Courts will be closed until Saturday, ACC spokesperson Jeff Montgomery said in an email. ACC has closed all other non-essential workstations for the same period.

Some Juvenile Court dependency hearings are canceled, but not those with specific time limits. No children will be admitted to a regional youth detention center without judicial approval, according to the release.

Magistrate Court hearings involving incarcerated people at the ACC Jail will be held as scheduled or rescheduled in a short time, the release said. Judges will continue to issue search warrants and arrest warrants and will hold hearings for the release of inmates on bail as soon as possible.

Municipal Court arraignments for criminal, traffic and ordinance violations from March 16 to April 13 will be canceled. Probate Court weapons carry license applications, whether new or renewal, will not be processed during the judicial emergency. Licenses expiring during the judicial emergency period will remain valid until April 13, according to the release.

State Court and Superior Court juries and jury trials are canceled. All matters not involving incarcerated people will be rescheduled or canceled. Release hearings for incarcerated people will be expedited.

Downtown garbage and recycling collection will use collection dumpsters that have been used for large events in the past. Downtown residents and business owners should place trash in blue dumpsters and recycling in green dumpsters using ACC-issued bags. The dumpsters are in several locations, including in front of Allgood Lounge, Urban Outfitters and Clocked. These dumpsters will be emptied daily.

The county will continue to provide trash pickup and other essential services like water and sewer functions.

The Center for Hard to Recycle Materials will be closed to residential customers. Commercial customers can contact the CHaRM for a scheduled delivery time.

All Leisure Services buildings are closed. Park grounds and trails remain open, but Bear Hollow Zoo is closed. Sandy Creek Park is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and park entrance fees are waived at this time.

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