Alpharetta works to reopen city hall in stages

Alpharetta City Hall sits in the center of the city's Downtown District, a hub of shopping and dining in the city. Downtown Alpharetta is also home to some of the city's most popular events throughout the year. Contributed by Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureau
Alpharetta City Hall sits in the center of the city's Downtown District, a hub of shopping and dining in the city. Downtown Alpharetta is also home to some of the city's most popular events throughout the year. Contributed by Alpharetta Convention & Visitors Bureau

Credit: LAUREN_LIZ_KRESS

Credit: LAUREN_LIZ_KRESS

Alpharetta city officials are working on ways to phase in a return to full business operations at City Hall while also extending the city’s state of emergency declaration to May 30.

During a special called meeting, Thursday, City Council discussed the need to phase in a return to regular city operations as the state prepares to lift its shelter in place orders at midnight Thursday, April 30.

“This allows us to keep facilities closed and gives the administrator the ability to phase in reopening and a return of employees to the physical workplace,” said James Drinkard, assistant city administrator.

But city offices could reopen to the public sooner using safety measures required by the coronavirus pandemic. Officials are also working on the reopening of the city's municipal courts. Courts are currently closed under a judicial state of emergency set to expire on May 13. The reopening date of Alpharetta Municipal Court has not yet been announced.

“We will not open until it’s safe,” said Drinkard.

Mayor Jim Gilvin and Council members considered setting up staging areas in the court parking lot for citizens before they are due to appear in the courtroom. And the city intends to provide supplies, such as hand sanitizers and masks for citizens who must be closer than six feet from others inside the courtroom.

The City Council has moved the deadline for businesses to pay occupational and alcohol excise taxes to June 30.

Last week, businesses began to reopen around the state, and more are expected to follow this weekend as Gov. Brian Kemp has lifted shelter-in-place restrictions.