The Santa Cruz County government will close its main complex and two other offices in Nogales to the public effective Wednesday out of concerns for the coronavirus pandemic.
The County Complex and Sheriff’s Office on North Congress Drive, as well as Animal Care and Control Services on Hohokam Drive, will be accessible to the public by appointment only, the county said in a news release issued Tuesday afternoon.
“Closing of the county building and only allowing appointments will help prevent community spread of the COVID-19 virus,” Health Services Director Jeff Terrell said in the announcement.
The closures do not apply to the local court system, which continues to operate as normal, and the Arizona@Work office remains open as well. The City of Nogales said Tuesday that it was aware of the county’s decision to close its buildings to the public, but was not planning to take similar action.
County Manager Jennifer St. John said county employees have been allowed to telecommute where possible, but otherwise, they'll continue to work behind closed doors at the three buildings.
Sheriff Antonio Estrada promised the closure of his office would have no effect on public safety, since staff and law enforcement officers will continue working.
“We are closing the lobby to the public to minimize the risk of spreading the virus,” Estrada said, adding that 911 operations will continue as usual and patrols will continue around the clock.
A week earlier, the Sheriff’s Office had asked the public to refrain from visiting the office and, instead, turn to online services and telephone calls for assistance. Now the request will become a requirement, though community members can still call (520) 761-7869 to set up an appointment.
Inmate visitations at the jail have also been temporarily halted.
“We are putting the safety of our citizens and employees first,” Estrada said.
County departments located at the main complex include the assessor, recorder, treasurer, public fiduciary, school superintendent, emergency management, public works, information technology, finance, board of supervisors, county attorney, health department and community development.
St. John said some offices have online options in place for people who need to file documents. Click here for information on how to make an appointment with a county office or use online services during the closure.
As of Tuesday, there had been one confirmed case of COVID-19 in Santa Cruz County and no deaths. Statewide, 326 people had tested positive for the disease – the majority in Maricopa County – and five had died, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.