CORONAVIRUS CITY UPDATES

UPDATES (click on title for full update)

Transit Buses Only Available by Phone

Beginning Monday, April 6, the West Plains Transit system will not run its regularly-scheduled routes, and will only be available for those who call and request transportation to access essential necessities.

This is being done to help prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus in the community, and in compliance with the Stay at Home Order issued by West Plains City Council March 27.

Essential necessities include groceries, pharmaceuticals, cleaning supplies, and any items deemed necessary for the safety and sanitation of a home or business. Essential services include doctor’s appointments, Laundromats, and any service a healthcare provider has determined is medically necessary.

Those needing transportation can call 256-1241, and if multiple riders are in the vehicle, the driver will require social distancing of at least six feet.

This plan will be in effect through April 15. Transit officials will continue to monitor the situation, and will make determinations about whether to continue regular routes at a later date.

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Citizens, Businesses Encouraged to Read “Stay at Home Order” Information on City Website

In response to the City of West Plains’ “Stay at Home Order” issued last Friday, March 27, City of West Plains officials are encouraging its citizens and business owners to educate themselves on the Order with information currently available on the City’s website.

Callers have been inundating West Plains City Hall, which is now only open for utility payments, with questions about the Order. In particular, City employees answering the phones are being asked by business owners which companies are considered “essential”, and which are considered “non-essential” during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The City has provided a guideline for its citizens and business owners on its westplains.net Website, with information available under the green “Stay at Home Order Facts” button at the top. Included is a “Question About Businesses” link that the City has provided as a guideline for businesses unsure on whether to keep their doors open.

City Administrator Tom Stehn said that “we’re all in this together” and the City is working on an approach to the Order which will help businesses determine whether or not they are essential.

“Whether or not you are deemed as essential and authorized to operate is ultimately a legal question,” said Stehn. “We encourage everyone to read the Ordinance, the Stay at Home Order, and the FAQs for the citizens and businesses. After reading that information, any business that still has questions can call City Hall, and a representative from the city will be in contact with an answer as soon as possible.”

In the meantime, Stehn said all residents and businesses need to follow the six-foot social distancing rule mandated by the President, which he noted is still not being followed in all circles.

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Library, Civic Center, Sports Complex, Welcome Center, Senior Center Closed Through April 15

At the recommendation of local, state and national public health officials regarding no large gatherings over 10 people during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the President extending the six-foot social distancing guidelines through April, the West Plains Public Library, Jimmie Carroll Sports Complex/West Plains Parks & Recreation, West Plains Civic Center, Ozark Heritage Welcome Center, and the West Plains Senior Center will be CLOSED to the public until 11:59 pm Wednesday, April 15, unless further action is needed to expand the closures.

While we recognize this decision affects many citizens in our community, our top priority is the health and well-being of the community, along with public safety. Please know this is a rapidly-changing situation that requires frequent evaluation, and we will continue to follow the guidelines of national and local public health officials as this situation develops. In the meantime, please call City Hall, 256-7176, with any questions during this time.

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City Hall Lobby Only Open for Utility Payments

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to protect the City’s customers and employees, the West Plains City Hall lobby will only be open for customers making utility payments until further notice.

The City is encouraging residents to stay home as much as possible over the coming days and weeks and abide by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations. Although the lobby will be open, the City is encouraging customers to use these other options first before coming into City Hall:

  • Pay online by visiting www.westplains.net and clicking “Pay Utilities Online.”
  • Use the drop box located outside in front of City Hall, 1910 Holiday Lane.
  • West Plains Bank & Trust Company and Wood & Huston Bank accept utility payments via drive-thru from the 1st of the month to the 20th of the month. Please have your statement with your payment. (Both banks usually only accept payments through the 10th .)
  • Pay by regular mail by sending in payment along with the statement you receive in the mail.

Customers who need to connect or disconnect a utility service are asked to call 417-256-7176 for instructions.

Customers needing building inspections, building permits, or questions regarding the Building Department, call 417-256-7176.

For customers needing assistance from the City Clerk’s Office, call the City Hall help desk for instruction at 417-256-7176.

The City of West Plains will continue to reevaluate this situation in the coming days and weeks. As always, we will remain committed to providing the best service for our customers.

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Library, Sports Complex, Playgrounds, Civic Center, Welcome Center, and Senior Center Closed Until March 31

At the recommendation of the Howell County Health Department and the CDC, with no large gatherings of over 10 people, the West Plains Public Library, Jimmie Carroll Sports Complex/West Plains Parks & Recreation, West Plains Civic Center, Welcome Center and the West Plains Senior Center will be closed to the public beginning March 18 through March 31, unless further action is needed to expand the closures.

While we recognize this decision affects many citizens in our community, our top priority is the health and well-being of the community, along with public safety. Please know this is a rapidly-changing situation that requires frequent evaluation, and we will continue to follow the guidelines of national and local public health officials as this situation develops. In the meantime, please call City Hall, 256-7176, with any questions during this time.

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City Council Meeting to be Rescheduled

The Howell County Health Department and the CDC, is recommending no large gatherings of over 10 people, therefore, the West Plains Planning & Zoning meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 19 and the West Plains City Council meeting scheduled for Monday, March 23 will be canceled. The City Council meeting will be rescheduled for a later date in the future.

While we recognize this decision affects many citizens in our community, our top priority is the health and well-being of the community, along with public safety. Please know this is a rapidly-changing situation that requires frequent evaluation, and we will continue to follow the guidelines of national and local public health officials as this situation develops. In the meantime, please call City Hall, 256-7176, with any questions during this time.

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Customers Urged to Pay Utility Bill Via Drop Box and Online

Currently, the Howell County Health Department and the CDC are recommending gatherings be no larger than 10 people. City Hall Lobby is open, however, at this time we are encouraging the public to pay their utility bill by using the drop box, outside in front of City Hall, or online, www.westplains.net and look for the blue button stating, “Pay Bill Online.” If you have questions, please call City Hall, 256-7176.

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Transit Route Changes Beginning Monday

Monday, March 23, the West Plains Transit will run every hour to these locations, beginning with: South Towers Apartments at 8 a.m., Walnut Grove Apartments at 8:02 a.m., Walmart at 8:17 a.m., West Vue Apartments at 8:30 a.m., OMC at 8:32 a.m., and Ramey Grocery Store at 8:35 a.m. with the last pickup of the day being at Ramey Grocery Store at 3:35 p.m. Due to the recommendation from the Howell County Health Department and the CDC, there will be no more than 10 people on the bus at a time, including the driver. These changes will be in effect until April 15 or unless otherwise needed. In between each route buses will be cleaned and disinfected for the safety of passengers and the driver.

Citizens can call 256-1241 if they are not at the route locations or need to go elsewhere to arrange pickup.

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Recycle Program Suspended & Other Changes from Solid Waste Transfer Station Beginning March 30.

The West Plains Recycle Program will be suspended beginning Monday, March 30 due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The Recycle Center will also be closed to the outside public for recyclable drop-offs beginning March 30 until further notice.

The Solid Waste Transfer Station will be closed to the public beginning March 30, until further notice, to outside customers as well. This was not an easy decision, but it was necessary step to help protect our customers and employees.

Trash routes for the City of West Plains will run as normal, although because of shift changes there may be some variations of times.

The City of West Plains will reevaluate this situation in the coming days and weeks to determine when the Solid Waste Transfer Station and the Recycle Center will reopen. As always, we will remain committed to providing the best service for our customers.

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Parks’ Play Structures, Jimmie Carroll Sports Complex, North Terra Pro Shop to Close March 25

In a proactive effort to minimize COVID-19 exposure to its residents, the City of West Plains will close all play structures in its Parks system, the Jimmie Carroll Sports Complex, and the North Terra Golf Course Pro Shop until further notice.

This is being done in accordance with the guidelines from the President and the

Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which states that every person in the State of Missouri shall avoid social gatherings of more than ten people.

Although the City is closing all playground equipment for public use, outdoor parks and trails in the City will remain open and will follow normal hours. The North Terra Golf Course will remain open only for its regular members, although rental and lease carts will be unavailable.

Parks visitors and golfers are advised to not gather in groups larger than 10. All visitors are advised to follow CDC prevention guidelines, including handwashing, social distancing, avoiding touching your face, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home while sick.

Sports leagues through the Parks Department and North Terra Golf Course are suspended until further notice.

The City has continued communication with local and national public health officials, and will continue to evaluate the situation in the coming weeks. City officials are strongly encouraging residents to stay home as much as possible over the coming days and weeks and abide by CDC recommendations.

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City Requests Public to not Flush Wipes, Paper Towels or Other Substitutes

The City of West Plains is issuing guidance for those sheltering at home due to COVID-19/Coronavirus concerns: Please do not flush anything but toilet paper in home toilets. The only item designed to be flushed through the sewer system is toilet paper. Residential sewer laterals, which are part of the sewer system that runs from the foundation of the house to the sewer main, are not designed to accept wipes, paper towels or other substitutes. Those items are not biodegradable and can clog the lateral.

City workers are seeing an even larger amounts of non-toilet paper products being used, and are trying to eliminate future issues from developing. The City is asking its residents to only flush toilet paper, and if they must use something besides toilet paper, dispose of it in the trash. City workers appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this challenging time. Please call 256-7176 for any questions.

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West Plains Municipal Court Postpones Court Hearings Through April 17

In compliance with the recommendations of the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Supreme Court of Missouri and the State of Missouri, the West Plains Municipal Court has postponed all court proceedings through April 17. Trials scheduled for April 9 are now postponed to May 14 at the same time previously scheduled. Those matters scheduled for April 16 are now scheduled for June 25 at 9:00 a.m.

The Court will continue to accept fine payments as follows:

  • Online at www.wpmunipay.com
  • By telephone at: 417-372-8573
  • By a money order which can be mailed to: West Plains Municipal Court, P.O. Box 249, West Plains, MO 65775.
  • Via Drop Box, located in the parking lot of City Hall. The envelope should clearly be marked “Municipal Court Payment.”

This is a developing situation; therefore this information is subject to change based upon recommendations from the CDC and the State of Missouri.

If you have any questions regarding this announcement or for any updates, please contact the West Plains Municipal Court Division at 417-256-6154.

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