City hall, library closed due to COVID concerns

    Due to rising COVID-19 cases in the area, St. James City Hall and the James Memorial Public Library are being closed to walk-in patrons. The drive through at city hall will remain open for those needing to pay their bills or for other city business and the library will resume curbside pickup by appointment.

    Mayor Rick Krawiecki said the change was due to cases rising, including staff being affected by the virus as well as the growing number of active cases and deaths reported by the Phelps/Maries County Health Department.
    “As we posted on our Facebook page last week, city employees have tested positive and we’re doing everything we can to separate our teams, isolate those individuals and minimize contact. We’ve closed the lobby here at the municipal center and reduced the number of employees in the utility office to minimize contact,” Krawiecki said. “Thankfully, everyone is doing well and several will be returning to work next week or so. We had several of our employees working from home.”
    For now, only one person will be in the utility office and Krawiecki asked those doing business to “please be patient.” Anyone needing to handle city business can still call and set up an appointment with the city official they need to speak to, but the main lobby will be closed to anyone without an appointment.
    Similarly, the library began transitioning to curbside pickup only beginning Tuesday, October 13, due to the amount of active cases of COVID-19 in the county.
    “When active cases drop below 50, we will be returning to normal hours. While this curbside service is in effect, all outdoor programs and outreach will be put on hold until we return to normal hours,” the library said in a Facebook statement.
    “We hope this will help keep the library from becoming a hot spot and not endanger our younger and elder patrons as well as (to) keep our staff safe. We would like to thank you for your patience at this time,” the statement added.
    Both facilities will be following guidance from local health officials and monitoring active cases in the area before reopening. Krawiecki said these steps are being taken to keep both staff and residents safe during this time and encouraged the community to take proper safety precautions and to practice social distancing.
    “Please folks, COVID is still out there and is hitting St. James pretty hard right now so continue to do your social distancing and wear a mask whenever possible,” he said.
    The health department urges the public to take appropriate precautions during this time to help slow the spread of COVID-19, including social distancing, limiting in-person interactions, avoiding contact with people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, proper handwashing, cleaning frequently used surfaces, and staying home when sick, to help contain he spread of COVID-19.