Newark Municipal Building

Newark Municipal Building

The Newark Municipal Building on South Main Street is shown in this file photo.

Newark's city hall will remain closed to the public through at least Jan. 31, officials announced Thursday.

City staff "continues to work proactively to reduce transmission of COVID-19 and promote public health recommendations," spokeswoman Jayme Gravell said.

All walk-in services are suspended. Payments may be made online at newarkde.gov/payments or by phone by calling 302-366-7000. Payments and documents for the planning department can be placed in a drop box in the lobby.

Alderman’s Court will remain closed, and all cases will be rescheduled.

City hall has been closed to the public since Dec. 1, when officials made the decision due to rising case numbers. It was set to reopen Jan. 19, but that date has been pushed back.

The building is tentatively schedule to reopen Feb. 1, Gravell said.

Since March, many employees have worked from home. Employees who can’t work from home, such as public works, electric and parks and recreation workers, are split into two teams that alternate days working. These “staff preservation shifts” ensure that if someone contracts COVID-19, they don’t risk exposing the entire department.

With the building closed to the public, the number of employees working in the building is reduced even more. Gravell said some employees will continue to come in as needed, but there can only be one person working in a particular area at any given time.

Since the pandemic began, 21 city employees have tested positive for COVID-19

Citywide, Newark is seeing an average of 13 new coronavirus cases per day, about on par with the numbers when city hall shut down in December but only half of the peak shortly prior to Thanksgiving.

Fifteen Newarkers have died from COVID-19, with the most recent death reported Dec. 31.

Statewide, Delaware is seeing an average of 790 new cases per day, with a record 1,241 reported Thursday. A total of 453 people are hospitalized for COVID-19, and the number of COVID-related deaths is now at 949.

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