Oak Ridge City Manager Releases COVID-19 Update

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (Jan. 13, 2021) – An important update from City Manager Mark Watson, on the Coronavirus (COVID-19): The public health situation is rapidly changing, here are the latest updates affecting city facilities.

Due to the significant increase in COVID cases, City officials strongly urge citizens to conduct their business over the phone and by mail whenever possible.

The City of Oak Ridge is supporting the “Tennessee Pledge” efforts by the state government. Please refer to State of Tennessee websites for updates and advice on precautions to be taken by particular businesses.

City facilities will continue to be operated as precautions and security matters are considered for the safety of our employees and “social distancing” for our customers and Masks are required to enter the building. Visitors may receive a temperature scan and inquiry about current health.

Please call the City Manager’s office 865-425-3550 or department offices on the City’s website for further information.

Note: Financial transactions can be handled electronically and via mail. If you need to meet someone, you can call the department’s extension directly. Phone numbers are listed under each department below.

MUNICIPAL BUILDING

  • The City of Oak Ridge Municipal Building is partially open to the public with the following COVID-19 precautions in place:
    • Secured, badge-only areas of the Municipal Building are in effect; only City staff can access the majority of City departments.
    • Public access to the Municipal Building is restricted to the north entrance near the courtroom (labeled Court Public Safety), the Utility Business Office and Community Development permit window, and the entrance near the City Clerk’s office on the south side of the building, which is for handicap-access only. For handicap access, contact the handicap-access helpline at (865) 425-5377 for assistance.
    • At the Court Public Safety entrance, visitors can check in for their scheduled appointments to be escorted to the secured areas of the building.
    • Masks are required to enter the building.
  • Departmental services are still available electronically or by appointment.
  • If you need to reach a department, call the number listed below for each department or click here for a list of all departments. You can also reach a department by email or social media.
  • The City will limit the number of face-to-face meetings and conduct electronic meetings as allowed by the Governor’s executive order. An official record of the meetings will be established for review on the City of Oak Ridge website.
  • Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch continues to issue Emergency Executive Orders that parallel the Governor’s Executive Orders.

LIBRARY

(865) 425-3455

  • Oak Ridge Public Library has returned to curbside pickup only.
  • Library users are invited to place holds on books, movies, music, and audiobooks through the library’s catalog, http://orpl.ent.sirsi.net/. 
  • Curbside hours are Monday through Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. If you would like help finding items to read, watch, or listen to, please call (865) 425-3455 for assistance placing holds.
  • Wireless hot spots are also available to the public through the library’s curbside service. You can place hot spots on hold through the library’s catalog or call the front desk for assistance.
  • Patrons can print from their phone or other device via our mobile printing service at ORPL.org and pick up their prints through curbside. Prints will be held for 7 days, and cost $0.10 per page.
  • For patrons needing reference help, our reference team is available via chat, text, and email. Here’s how it works:
    • Go to ORPL.org and click on ‘Ask a Librarian’
    • Chat with or text Reference staff from your phone, mobile device, or computer
    • Chat is accessible from the library website or by texting (865) 324-0400
    • A friendly Reference staff member will respond to your question when chat is available.
  • When staff is busy or unavailable, you can always email[email protected] and a staff member get back with you as soon as possible. As always, if texting, chatting, or emailing is not an option, please call (865) 425-3455.
  • Unfortunately, the library will not be able to accept donations while the building is closed. Please hold onto any gently used books until the library is fully open to the public once again.
  • The book drop will reopen on Sundays after the January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
  • For the health and safety of our staff and patrons, the library will continue to quarantine returned materials. Users may see a delay between the time they return an item and when it is removed from their account. No late charges will accrue while items are in quarantine.
  • Tax forms will be made available as soon as they arrive. The library expects tax forms in late January. 
  • Please keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for updates.

UTILITIES

(865) 425-3400

  • The lobby to the Utilities Business Office (UBO) has reopened to the public with COVID-19 precautions. A limited number of customers are allowed in the lobby at one time. Masks are encouraged.
  • Customers are still encouraged to make payments through the online Customer Self Service portal at https://payment.oakridgetn.gov, or by phone 24/7 by calling (833) 268-4341 (6-digit account number required). Customers are also welcomed to use the overnight drop box located in the parking lot at 200 S. Tulane Avenue or payments can be mailed to P.O. Box 1 Oak Ridge, TN 37831.
  • Many people in our community live with financial hardship, especially amid COVID-19 and the holidays. If you are in need of emergency assistance paying a utility bill, please contact Aid to Distressed Families for Appalachian Counties (ADFAC) at (865) 483-6028.

CENTRAL SERVICES

(865) 425-1875

  • Public Works and Electrical Department services are still ongoing.
  • The Central Services Complex reopened to the public by appointment only.
  • Visitors will be buzzed in and escorted to the office they need. All visitors will be temperature-screened before entry.
  • If you need to reach Public Works, please call (865) 425-1875 and for the Electric Department, call (865) 425-1803.
  • The annual city-wide leaf pickup program is ongoing but subject to delays due to weather and COVID-19. Click here to view the schedule.
  • The Waste Connections Convenience Center on Warehouse Road has returned to accepting bulk items and metal, brush and yard waste. More information can be found here.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT

(865) 425-3531

  • ·       The permit desk, Community Development and Codes division are currently closed to public access, but services are being provided electronically.
  • If you need assistance with permitting or inspections, contact us at [email protected] or call (865) 425-3532.
  • For planning or general information, call (865) 425-3531 and leave a message.

FIRE DEPARTMENT

(865) 425-3520

  • All citizen visits and tours to fire stations and headquarters have been suspended.
  • Fire administration may be reached via phone at (865) 425-3520.

POLICE DEPARTMENT

(865) 425-3504

  • The main entrance to the police department is closed to the public.
  • To file police reports, citizens should call the police department for guidance at (865) 425-3504.
  • Crime tips can still be reported online.

CITY COURT

(865) 425-3536

  • In light of the recent record number of COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations in Tennessee, as well as the Governor’s issuance of Executive Order 70 on December 21, 2020, and under the constitutional, statutory, and inherent authority of the Tennessee Supreme Court, Oak Ridge City Court adopts the following provisions:


All in-person proceedings in all state and local courts in Tennessee, including but not limited to municipal, juvenile, general sessions, trial, and appellate courts, shall be suspended from the close of business on Monday, December 28, 2020, through the close of business on Friday, January 29, 2021.

  • Please contact the Oak Ridge City Court Clerk’s Office at (865) 425-3536 to schedule a new court date and time.
  • Masks or face coverings must be worn at all times in the Court Clerk’s Office and if occurring, in City Court.
  • The City Court Clerk’s office is open for payment from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or via mail. Citizens are encouraged to handle any transactions over electronically or via mail to help reduce the chance for spread of the COVID-19 virus. 
  • Citizens can send money orders or personal checks to: 

City of Oak Ridge – City Courts
P.O. Box 1
Oak Ridge, TN 37831

  • If a payment is past due, only a money order or a cashier’s check is accepted. 
  • If you have any questions about what is owed or whether you need to appear in court, please call (865) 425-3536.

ANIMAL CONTROL

(865) 425-3423

  • Oak Ridge Animal Shelter is temporarily closed to the public to ensure the safety and health of animals, employees, volunteers and visitors.
  • Animal Control will continue to respond to animal emergencies.
  • Adoptions and owner reclaims must be scheduled by calling (865) 425-3423.
  • Aggressive and loose animals in the city limits will be responded to by Animal Control. Animal Control may be reached during normal business hours, Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. at (865) 425-3423.  If you have a problem after-hours, you can call the Oak Ridge Police Departments non-emergency number (865) 425-4399.
  • If you have donations such as towels or blankets to share with the shelter this winter, please contact the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter at (865) 425-3423 during normal business hours to make arrangements in advance to drop off the donation.

SENIOR CENTER

(865) 425-3999

  • A phased reopening of the Senior Center is underway. 
    • During the first phase of reopening the Senior Center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. This limited schedule allows time to clean and disinfect the building between sessions.
  • Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Tennessee Commission on Aging & Disability, the following safety protocols are in place:
    • Participants and staff are required to wear face masks and follow social distancing standards while in the building.
    • Upon entry, all participants are asked COVID-19 screening questions and temperatures are checked.
    • Those who have COVID-19 symptoms are not permitted to participate in programs.
    • Each participant is required to fill out new information and release forms when they return to the building for the first time
  • Participants are required to call ahead to schedule activities so that room and building capacity limits can be observed.
    • The Recreation Room is available for pool or ping pong in one-hour increments, with a limit of six players at any one time.
    • The exercise room is open to schedule 45-minute sessions.
    • Equipment use is limited to one machine per person per session and no more than 3 participants are allowed in the room at a time.
  • The Senior Center is also offering a limited number of spots for one-on-one technology assistance to participants.
    • This includes help using smartphones, laptops, and other devices as well as guidance on the use of social media and conferencing applications (such as Zoom). 
  • Other programs and activities will be phased into the Senior Center schedule as conditions permit.
  • Participants are asked to bring bottled water, as water fountains are not open at this time.
    The ETHRA Senior Nutrition Program Home Delivered Meals (“Meals On Wheels”) will continue.
  • The MyRide program is discontinued. Residents may schedule rides for trips within the city with Oak Ridge transit by calling (865) 482-2785 Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Residents can schedule rides outside of the city by calling ETHRA transit services at (800) 232-1565.

RECREATION & PARKS

(865) 425-3450

CENTENNIAL GOLF COURSE

(865) 425-3450

  • Water coolers at the Centennial Golf Course remain off the course.
  • Restrooms have been winterized and closed for the winter. Clubhouse restrooms remain open and are cleaned and sanitized daily.
  • Ball washers remain off the course but, flags on the putting green have been replaced.
  • Golf carts can now be shared, however, if a player has concerns about the virus, they may take their own cart for a small fee. Carts are still being sanitized after each round.
  • Golf cups have been replaced back to normal play.
  • The driving range and range machine are open.
  • The grille at the golf course club house remains open with a limited menu.
    • The beverage cart is running more often to serve customers in the open environment and encourage distancing by not having to enter the clubhouse for food and beverage needs.

For more information, contact the City Manager’s office at 865-425-3550.

About Brad Jones

Brad is the Owner/Operator of BBB TV 12, and has been with the company since August of 1996. Brad is a 1987 graduate of Coalfield High School and a 1995 graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Communications. He won the 1995 broadcast production student of the year award. Brad worked at Shop at Home, Inc. a home shopping network that was located in Knoxville, TN from 1993 - 1995 and then at Via TV (RSTV, Inc.) from 1995 - 1996. After some freelance work in Nashville, Brad joined the BBB Communications staff in August of 1996. A short stint at WVLT TV as a news photographer was in 2001, but he continued to work at BBB TV as well. Brad is married to Nicole Jenkins Jones, a 1990 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, who works at Oak Ridge Gastroenterology and Associates in Oak Ridge. They have 3 kids, Trevor Bogard, 27, Chandler 22, and Naomi 13. On December 12, 2013 they welcomed their first grandchild, Carter Ryan Bogard. Brad is also the assistant boys basketball coach at Coalfield High School for the past 11 years. In 2013-14 the Yellow Jackets won their first district title since 1991 and just the 4th in school history.

Check Also

MEDIC Regional Blood Center Emergency Appeal for Blood Donors

MEDIC Regional Blood Center has an immediate, critical need for: O Positive Blood Type A …

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: