Stone County, the City of Wiggins and various retailers are either limiting access to services or closing altogether.
County and city government offices are closing doors and asking citizens to conduct necessary business by telephone, through the mail or online while still attempting to provide the full range of services normally on offer.
The Stone County Courthouse has locked two of its three entrances and will have a Stone County Sheriff’s Department security officer manning the open entrance to make sure any and all who enter have valid business to transact.
“We’re just trying to create an environment that is safe, or as safe as we can make it, for our citizens and our employees,” said Chancery Clerk Tom Smith. “We’re asking that only those with business to conduct enter the courthouse.”
All contested cases in Chancery Court that had been set through April 17 have been canceled.
Workers remain in the Circuit Clerk’s office as well and scheduling favored Circuit Court.
“Court is not scheduled to be held here again until May 18,” said Circuit Clerk Treba Davis.
Across the street in the Justice Court building, doors have been locked and all cases have been canceled through May 20.
Court personnel remain on the job and Justice Court Clerk Aletha Parker has established guidelines for transacting court business.
Fines can be paid online at www.myfinepayment.com, fines can be paid by debit or credit card by calling 877-591-8768 or cashier’s checks or money orders can be mailed to Stone County Justice Court, 231 Third St. S., Wiggins, MS 39577.
Stone County Tax Assessor/Collector Charles Williams has locked his offices, though business continues Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
“We want to protect our staff as well as the public,” Williams said. “Renewals, registrations and tax payments can still be taken care of through the mail, by telephone or online.”
The office can be reached at 601-928-3121, by mail at 308 Court St., Wiggins, MS 39577 or online at www.stonecounty.gov
Williams pointed out that car registrations expire the last day of the month and have a 15-day grace period following that.
“If your tag is due to be renewed in March, you actually have until April 15,” he said.
The Stone County School District, already on Spring Break, will follow the guidelines laid out by Gov. Tate Reeves on Thursday.
Schools will remain closed through April 17.
“[We are] creating an action plan to meet the needs of our students and personnel,” said SCSD Superintendent Inita Owen in a statement. “Stay tuned to our websites, social media and broadcast messaging for updates.
“These are unprecedented times but we know that the parents, students and community of Stone County will rise to the occasion and be successful in our efforts.”
Owen said administrators would continue to work but would limit themselves to groups of less than 10, as per Mississippi State Department of Health guidelines.
The Stone County Road Department released a flier Thursday informing residents they must have their garbage out by the mailbox by 7 a.m. on the usual day of pickup.
“All garbage must be in garbage bags or it will not be picked up,” the flier read.
The City of Wiggins passed a state-of-emergency declaration Tuesday and is asking residents to avoid going to City Hall in person.
“We’re moving the water-payment desk to the former Muicipal Court Clerk’s office because it has a glass partition,” said Mayor Joel Miles. “We’re just trying to minimize person-to-person contact as much as possible.”
The city has taken no action on the state-of-emergency, but wanted it to be in place in order to more efficiently take part in any state programs to minimize the impact of the coronavirus.
The Stone County Enterprise has closed its offices to person-to-person transactions and is conducting business by telephone at 601-928-4802 or email at email@example.com
Many local businesses have restricted their hours of operation rationed products customers may purchase or closed altogether.
Individuals may want to check with any local businesses before traveling to conduct business.