Martins Ferry City Building reopens to public

No need for buzzer to get in

T-L Photo/SHELLEY HANSON TERI LEASURE, parking enforcement, and Betty Suto, codes enforcement and mayor’s secretary, work Tuesday inside the Martins Ferry City Building that is open again to the public.

MARTINS FERRY — The city building in Martins Ferry reopened to the public following months of being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor John Davies said residents can now enter the building to pay utility and other bills and to visit the police department without having to be buzzed in.

For the last few weeks, a buzzer button on the outside of the building could be used by the public if they needed to speak directly to a city employee.

Prior to that, the building closed and reopened a couple times during the pandemic, as the number of positive cases in the region increased and decreased. The last time the building closed and the buzzer was used was following positive cases of the virus occurring within the building.

One case was confirmed in Martins Ferry Police Chief John McFarland, who several weeks ago contracted the virus from relatives and has since recovered from the illness.

“We opened it today,” Davies said on Monday. “The city is open for business. It looks like this COVID stuff is starting to recede a little bit. It’s OK for restaurants to open up. We feel like it’s OK to open the building.”

Despite businesses and buildings reopening, local, state and federal health officials still want people to be careful while out and about.

In Ohio, residents still are required to wear masks while in public places and offices and when outside if 6-foot distances between people cannot be maintained. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine previously said he would lift orders related to masking, capacities and distancing when cases reach a low point of 50 per 100,000 residents.

President Joe Biden and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week warned Americans to keep wearing masks and to get COVID-19 vaccinations if eligible, according to the Associated Press.

Biden even asked states that have repealed mask mandates to reinstate them. According to AARP, there are 33 states that still have mask mandates. Six states have lifted their mandates including Texas, Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana, Iowa and Mississippi.

Millions of doses of vaccine have been given to people across the United States since they became available.

Rob Sproul, deputy health commissioner for the Belmont County Health Department, on Tuesday said 11,054 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered by the health department, to date. Other clinics and pharmacies in the county are now giving the vaccine as well.


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