The health and wellness of the City of Johnston residents and employees is a top priority. At this time, City operations will continue as usual unless the situation changes in the coming days. The City will continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and will follow guidance from the Polk County Health Department.
Updates and Changes to City Services (March 15, 2020)
Out of an abundance of caution, to protect your personal health and the health of our employees, please consider calling or emailing city employees to conduct your business electronically or over the phone. Information for each of the departments can be found by visiting www.cityofjohnston.com/directory.aspx.
City Hall staff is taking extra precautions, including:
- Sanitizing the service desks upon serving a resident
- Wiping down door handles and bathroom handles
- Providing hand sanitizer at our service desks
During this time, handwashing is critical. Self-quarantine if you have any symptoms, particularly fever, shortness of breath and cough.
If you are over the age of 60 or have an underlying condition such as heart, liver, lung disease, diabetes, or auto-immune diseases, you should be vigilant in protecting your health and the health of others around you. We strongly discourage you from coming to City Hall if you are in the vulnerable category. Instead of paying your utility bill in person, you are welcome to use our automated phone system, pay online, or use or drop box at City Hall (inside the first set of doors), or mail your payment. See this link for details - www.cityofjohnston.com/213/Utility-Payment-Options-and-Billing.
The March City Council, Tree Board, Park Board and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings will continue as scheduled, but social distancing guidelines will be followed, this will include the rearrangement of seating.
The Building Department will now accept all building permits, trade permits, rental housing registrations, etc. to be submitted electronically. Permit forms are available at www.cityofjohnston.com/105/Permits, and can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. At the present time, all building inspections will continue as normal and can be scheduled by calling 515-727-7775.
The Building Department has temporarily suspended conducting routine rental housing inspections but will continue to register/renew rental housing registrations. More information on the Rental Housing Inspection program can be found at www.cityofjohnston.com/528/Rental-Inspections.
Parks and Shelters
All parks are open for your general use, so enjoy the parks and trails. At this time, shelters and events have not been canceled, but City staff will monitor and reassess the facilities as needed.
Johnston Public Library
At this time, the Johnston Public Library remains open. We encourage residents to remain aware of the situation with COVID-19 and consider using the resources available online at the Library’s website. They have many online magazines and books to choose from at www.johnstonlibrary.com/. They also have Lynda.com, which provides access to thousands of in-depth video tutorials – basic to advanced – for learning business, software, technology and creative skills, We encourage you to check it out today by visiting, www.johnstonlibrary.com/research/lynda/.
Library staff is taking extra precautions, including:
- Sanitizing service desks and touch screens
- Suspending home delivery services temporarily
- Providing sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer at our service desks and computer stations
- If cases of the virus are reported in Polk County, the library will then remove puppets, puzzles, Legos, and other toys from the Youth Services area.
Should the Iowa Department of Public Health or the Polk County Health Department suggest the closure of government facilities, we will cancel all library programs and close the library.
Police and Fire Departments
The Johnston Police Department and Johnston-Grimes Metropolitan Fire Department continue to take calls for service. The department has added extra decontamination efforts to their protocols.
Public responders are taking extra precautions, including:
- The vehicle interior and equipment will be decontaminated after each call for service.
- Responders are using extra precautions during calls for service with hands sanitized after any interaction/transaction of business.
While we must ensure we are keeping our community safe, the safety of our staff and first responders is a top priority as well. We encourage you to first call the Johnston Police and Fire Department regarding an inquiry, rather than stopping in at the station. The number is 515-278-2345.
Senior Lunch Site and Activities at Crown Point Community Center
The Polk County Senior lunch site and senior activities at the Crown Point Community Center in Johnston will close effective Monday, March 16, until Monday, March 30. This closure and cancellation, while inconvenient, is intended to reduce to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Johnston Seniors are welcome to order a to-go lunch from the Grimes Community Center, located at 410 SE Main Street in Grimes. Lunch is available for PICK-UP ONLY at the Grimes Community Center from 11:00 a.m. to Noon. Reservations are required by 1:00 p.m. one-day in advance for the next day’s meal. Residents are urged to please call 515-986-5747 to reserve a lunch, which can be picked up at the North Entrance to the building.
The Johnston Food Pantry will be distributing food from the parking lot. Admission to the stores will be restricted, but staff will take orders, prepare the food packages and bring them outside for customers. The hours of operation may vary. Customers may also call ahead at 515-868-1357 to place their orders.
We will update our website and social media pages with additional information as our response develops.
Visit www.polkcountyiowa.gov/health for the most up-to-date information about the rapidly evolving situation. During this time, we are emphasizing that you be cautious and use common sense in how you interact with each other to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We are hopeful that with the precautions we are taking, it will help save lives and prevent massive outbreaks of the virus.
As always, it is import to practice healthy habits
- Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, or as long as it takes you to sing Happy Birthday or the ABCs twice
- When unable to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Avoid contact with people who are sick
- Stay home while you are sick and avoid close contact with others
- Cover your mouth/nose with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- Stay home and do not go out in public when you are sick
- Avoid medical settings unless necessary
- Give six-feet of space from others
- Avoid shaking someone’s hand
- Practice excellent personal hygiene habits
- Work in ways that minimize close contact with people
- Encourage telecommuting
The Iowa Department of Public Health is updating the number of Iowans being monitored and tested for COVID-19 each day, Monday through Friday. Visit their website for COVID-19 numbers: https://idph.iowa.gov/Emerging-Health-Issues/Novel-Coronavirus.
For updated information and resources, please visit the links below.