City adds service changes following ‘Stay Home, Stay Safe’ order

Published on March 23, 2020

Photo of City Hall with an

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – City Manager Mark Washington today announced updates and additions to temporary service changes following Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order. The executive order directs all Michigan businesses and operations to temporarily suspend in-person operations that are not necessary to sustain or protect life and directs residents to stay in their homes unless they are part of the critical infrastructure workforce, engaged in an outdoor activity or performing tasks necessary to the health and safety of themselves or their loved ones. The executive order is in effect starting at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, March 24 through 11:59 p.m. Monday, April 13.

“We are committed to helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19, protect the health of community members and City employees and ensure the continuity of essential City services,” Washington said. 

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss praised the community for taking public health recommendations and the governor’s previous executive orders seriously over the past week.

“As a community, we have come together and we have followed these important steps,” Bliss said. “I am incredibly proud of our collective actions and I am confident we will follow this latest executive order and stay home and stay safe. Working together, we can ensure the health and safety of our friends, family and neighbors.”

As part of the changes, the City is extending its previously announced service adjustments to align with the new executive order effective date. The following changes are in effect until 11:59 p.m. April 13 unless otherwise noted:

  • The following City buildings are closed to walk-in traffic until regular business hours April 14:

– City Hall at 300 Monroe Ave. NW

–  Grand Rapids Development Center at 1120 Monroe Ave. NW

–  All Grand Rapids Fire Department stations

–  Grand Rapids Police Department Headquarters at 1 Monroe Ave. NW

–  Mobile GR-Parking Services Department at 50 Ottawa Ave. NW

–  Parks and Recreation and Public Works departments at 201 Market Ave. SW

–  Water Resource Recovery Facility at 1300 Market Ave. SW

–  Water Administration Building at 1900 Oak Industrial Drive NE

Staff members are available to provide services via email, phone or 311 Customer Service. The City’s website – grandrapidsmi.gov – also offers a wide range of services. Call Customer Service at 311 or 616.456.3000 or email info@grcity.us. Community members who require police services are encouraged to:

–  File a report online or by phone – CLICK HERE for more information

–  Advise the 911 operator of anyone in their home who is sick or under quarantine

–  Meet responding officers outside their home and maintain the recommended 6 feet separation

  • The new filing deadline for 2019 City of Grand Rapids income tax returns is July 31. This follows the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announcement that the federal income tax filing due date is extended to July 15. City taxpayers may defer income tax payments due April 30 to July 31 without penalties and interest regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax. This deferment does not apply to any withholding taxes. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the City’s Income Tax Department to qualify for this automatic tax filing and payment relief. Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 31 deadline may request a filing extension. There will not be any penalty or interest on tax due unless it was for failure to make estimated payments.  More information is available HERE.

Those who have an automatic payment arrangement or payment plan and need to make adjustments during this time are asked to email grincometax@grcity.us or call 616.456.3415 and select option 0. Staff are available for phone calls 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Those who need help with their City of Grand Rapids income tax return are asked to follow the same instructions. Completed returns may be uploaded HERE.

All pending court cases with the Income Tax Department are  postponed for 90 days or dismissed without the need to contact the office. Individuals to whom this applies will receive a notice in the mail this week.

  • City Commission meetings are postponed until April 14. When meetings resume, seating in the Commission Chambers will be reduced per health officials’ recommendations. Electronic means of participation will be established and announced in advance of this and other public meetings.
  • The March 26 and April 9 Planning Commission meetings are postponed. Business will be pushed to the next available meeting in April or May.
  • Non-essential meetings of Boards and Commissions are postponed. Depending on the business necessity, meetings will be rescheduled as possible in April and May.
  • Water service shutoffs are suspended through April 30 and accounts in shutoff status are to be restored.
  • The City’s yard waste drop-off site won’t reopen for the season until April 14. It previously was scheduled to open April 6.
  • The Office of Special Events has suspended all special event permit services.
  • Indian Trails Golf Course is closed until further notice.
  • Parks and Recreation facility rentals are suspended. A full refund will be provided.
  • Public engagement is postponed. This includes engagement opportunities for Vital Streets projects, Office of Oversight and Public Accountability, Office of Equity and Engagement, parks facilities and the City/Kent County consolidated plan for community development block grant.
  • Rental certification inspections of all types are suspended. Existing certifications due in March and April will be extended through May 31. Code enforcement staff will issue extensions and reschedule certification inspections as necessary.
  • No new applications for Community Development Block Grant contracts for housing rehabilitation and lead remediation are accepted.
  • Interior inspections of occupied residential units for code enforcement, water services and lead remediation projects are suspended except in the case of an emergency health, safety or welfare concern. 

The City’s Mobile GR-Parking Services Department will make the following changes effective Tuesday:

  • Launch a temporary free parking zone program for downtown and neighborhood businesses to help them with their drop-off and takeout services. As part of the program – which is by request only – the department provides at least two parking spaces in front of a business. The program is for businesses in areas with or without metered parking.  For more information, CLICK HERE.
  • Temporarily suspend metered parking enforcement downtown and in neighborhood business districts until further notice and reprioritize enforcement on safety violations such as “No Parking” and blocking crosswalks. Specific attention is paid to medical facilities, Grand Rapids Police Department and areas that are providing food pickup services.
  • Temporarily suspend enforcement in residential parking permit zones and halt enforcement of the seasonal odd/even and same-side parking restrictions set to end April 1.

“Concern for the public’s health and safety is at the forefront of all of our decisions,” said Josh Naramore, director of Mobile GR-Parking Services. “We have a responsibility to do our part in the global fight against the spread of COVID-19 at the local level and support our residents, businesses and employees. Businesses have joined to cope with the current reality of social distancing and are innovating to adjust. Residents are doing their part by teleworking and sheltering in place. It is for these reasons that we are reprioritizing parking enforcement and making these changes.”

Starting at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and until further notice, the DASH circulator service that is financially supported by the City and operated by The Rapid will operate 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday only. The DASH West route will run every 15 minutes and the DASH North route will run every 20 minutes. For other Rapid service changes, CLICK HERE.

Essential City services will continue. These include:

  • Police
  • Fire
  • Dispatch
  • 311 Customer Service
  • 61st District Court – read update on service changes HERE
  • Building and construction inspections
  • Cemeteries
  • Code enforcement
  • Mobile GR-Parking Services
  • Parks maintenance and forestry
  • Public Works
  • Refuse and recycling
  • Streets and stormwater
  • Streetlighting
  • Traffic Safety
  • Water and sewer

 Under the executive order, residents may:

  • Go to the grocery store or pick up takeout food
  • Go to the pharmacy to pick up a needed prescription
  • Engage in outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, running or biking
  • Go to the hospital or secure any care necessary to address a medical emergency or to preserve their health or the health of a loved one
  • Fill their vehicle with gas
  • Return to Michigan to a home or place of residence from outside the state
  • Leave the state for a home or residence elsewhere
  • Walk their pets and take them to the veterinarian for needed medical care

Under the executive order, residents may not:

  • Leave home to work unless their employer designates them as a critical infrastructure worker
  • Participate in any public gatherings
  • Visit someone in the hospital, nursing home or other residential care facilities – with limited exceptions
  • Go to the mall or restaurants

The executive order also directs businesses that remain open for in-person work to take aggressive steps to minimize the spread of COVID-19. These include:

  • Promote remote work to the fullest extent possible
  • Restrict the number of workers present in-person on the job
  • Keep employees at least 6 feet from one another to the maximum extent possible and enable social distancing for customers standing in line  
  • Any other social distancing practices and mitigation measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control 

Track city updates HERE and follow on Facebook and Twitter. For up-to-date information on COVID-19, click HEREHERE and HERE.

 

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