More government offices are starting to reopen to the public, even though it is by appointment only.
The Saratoga County Department of Motor Vehicles and Schenectady City Hall have both announced they will resume services with in-person appointments starting today.
At Schenectady City Hall, Mayor Gary R. McCarthy said appointments may be scheduled by phone to 518-382-5199 or by email through the city’s website, www.cityofschenectady.com/contact.
Among the City Hall offices that will be available are acceptance of tax payments, code enforcement, the city clerk, planning and development, affirmative action, general services, water, law, assessment, and engineering. Visitors must wear face masks while in City Hall.
The actions in Schenectady and Saratoga County, where government employees have in many cases been working in recent weeks by phone or email, will be open to the public for the first time since mid-March, at the beginning of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Initially many of those employees were told to stay home, but have been allowed to return as restrictions have eased.
In Saratoga County, the DMV offices in Ballston Spa and Clifton Park will be open by appointment during regular business hours, but the Wilton office, located inside Wilton Mall, will remain closed under state orders that keep malls closed to prevent spread of COVID-19.
The announcements come as government offices across the Capital Region slowly start to re-open to the public, though many remain closed.
The other county DMV offices in other Capital Region counties remain closed to the public, but are expected to open in the near future using similar appointment systems. The state DMV began processing mail and online transactions again at the beginning of June.
The state has resumed allowing state-administered commercial driver’s license road tests, but still isn’t allowing road tests for those seeking new standard licenses.
Saratoga County Clerk Craig A. Hayner said DMV customers who had appointments with DMV prior to the shutdown are being given priority and have already been contacted, but new appointments can now also be scheduled.
The office staff has continued to work on documents that could be processed by mail or email, even though the offices were close to the public, he noted.
“While out staff has been busy processing transactions customers mailed or dropped off to us during the statewide COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, we are eager to safely welcome customers back to our offices and provide these much-needed services to the good people of Saratoga County,” Hayner said in a press release.
Hayner said social distancing protocols will be in place, and staff will be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. Customers are also required to wear masks and follow social distancing guidelines. Only the individual involved in a transaction will be allowed into the offices, unless someone is needed to provide specific assistance, or in accompanying a minor.
The county also asked that people arrive no earlier than 10 minutes ahead of their appointment time, and said there may be times when they will need to wait outside or in their vehicles, due to limits on the number of people allowed inside; those arriving more than five minutes late may also forfeit their appointment time.
Forms should be filled out ahead of time if possible, and can be downloaded at saratogacountyny.gov/dmv. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 518-383-2480, ext. 3921, from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Reach staff writer Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.