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Staff Photo by Margaret Fenton / Catoosa County is planning to reopen its buildings Monday, May 4. Here, deed records are shown from Times Free Press photo files.

As Georgia continues its aggressive approach to reopen the state's economy under Gov. Brian Kemp's plan, local municipalities are easing their way out of government shutdowns that were caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

On Friday, thousands of businesses across Georgia like hair salons, spas, gyms and tattoo parlors opened back up for business. On Monday, restaurants welcomed customers to dine in on a limited basis and movie theaters were cleared to start selling tickets.

Like many businesses in the area, local municipalities are following Kemp's lead and have slowly started to resume most of their operations while others will do so in the coming weeks.

Catoosa County is planning to reopen its buildings Monday, May 4.

Residents will be able to visit county departments, and county employees who have been working from home will return to the office while maintaining as much social distancing as possible.

Employees will be screened on a daily basis before working and will be given appropriate personal protective equipment. Sanitation sites will be placed around county buildings for the public.

The Catoosa County Commission meeting on May 5 will be closed to the public to limit large gatherings but will be livestreamed on Facebook. The commission's May 19 meeting may be open to the public but an announcement will be made closer to the mid-May meeting.

Catoosa County Parks and Recreation programs will attempt to start again in June. Catoosa Trans-Aid will continue to provide essential medical trips only, the Catoosa County Library is considering curbside service until it is fully reopened, and the Colonnade/Catoosa County Civic Center and Senior Center will stay closed.

All offices except the courthouse are open in Chattooga County. On Tuesday afternoon, an employee at the courthouse was experiencing some symptoms of COVID-19, and the county decided to close the main courthouse building through Wednesday as a precaution, the Summerville News reported.

The closure will affect several offices, including Probate Court and the Public Defender's Office.

Chattooga County facilities will still operate in a limited fashion and employees will still be working from home as much as possible and in a staggered schedule.

Residents are asked to contact specific offices to assist in essential services. For information on specific departments and their employees, call 706-857-0700.

For questions on the recent courts closures, call 706-657-2616.

Certain government offices in Whitfield County started opening Monday but some county employees will work from home until May 11.

Whitfield County Commission Chair Lynn Laughter said it will not be "business as usual," during a recent livestream. County offices for tags and elections will have added security measures, staff will be wearing protective equipment and only a certain number of people will be allowed in offices and buildings.

People that need to renew a tag should not come inside but should use the drop box or renew the tag online.

The state recently extended the deadline for tag renewals to May 15.

Court cases will be suspended across Georgia until at least May 13 following the statewide emergency order from Chief Justice Harold Melton of the Supreme Court of Georgia.

In Dalton, city offices are expected to open Friday, May 1.

Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield has started to slowly open up his county's operations and more will start back up on May 4.

Public works, transit and the maintenance shop all resumed operations Monday, while animal control is on call but responding to dog bite and stray calls only.

Code enforcement and litter control will start May 4. A full list of the county's operations can be seen on the county's website.

In Murray County, where residents and officials are still dealing with the aftermath of an EF3 tornado, offices are expected to open to the public May 14.

Contact Patrick Filbin at pfilbin@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6476. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickFilbin.

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