Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many changes in the day-to-day functioning of local governments and courts. There have also been changes regarding the needs of the community. Some of these changes include the following:


• Coronavirus testing is being offered at the Truman Medical Centers campuses at Lakewood and Hospital Hill. Tests will be free to persons without health insurance, and there will be no co-pay charged to persons who do have insurance. Drive-through testing is also available at both TMC locations. To schedule a test, call 816-404-2273.


• Questions about COVID-19 and the stay-at-home order may be emailed to coronavirusinfo@jacksongov.org. Questions may also be directed to the Jackson County Health Department at (816)-404-9883. A list of common questions and answers can also be found at jacksongov.org. In addition, the city of Independence is posting updates on the COVID-19 emergency at facebook.com/CityofIndependence, at Twitter@CityofIndepMo, and on Nextdoor.


• Food pantries, food banks, school meal programs, diaper banks, and other emergency services are listed at the Missouri Services Navigator site: https://mo.servicesnavigator.org/s4s/WhereILive/Council?pageId=1&lockla=true


Listings of local food pantries and services can also be found at https://www.jacksongov.org/1187/Jackson-County-COVID-19-Resource-and-Rec and at http://www.ci.independence.mo.us/COVID19/NeedHelp


• 2020 municipal elections have been moved to June 2.


• Regular restaurant inspections and food handler classes in Independence have been canceled. Restaurants in Independence will be inspected only when there is a specific complaint made. To make a complaint about an Independence restaurant, call (816) 325-7803.


• Regular restaurant inspections in Jackson County, outside of Independence and Kansas City, are not now being performed due to the current state of emergency, but inspections will be conducted in response to citizen complaints. To make a complaint about a restaurant in Jackson County (outside of Kansas City and independence), call 816-404-9883 or visit the county website at jacksongov.org and type in “complaint about restaurant” in the search line.


• The Mid-Continent Public Library is closed. However, multiple library services are available online. Visit mymcpl.org and click on “Virtual Branch” where you will be able to read virtual comics, listen to audiobooks, read newspapers and magazines, and access multiple movies and educational videos. In addition, live programs are being offered by the library via Facebook. A listing of these events can be found at mymcpl.org/events/virtual-events.


• The United Way of Greater Kansas City is also available to refer persons in need of assistance to appropriate agencies. Dial 211 or visit 211kc.org to reach the United Way.


• The Independence Fire Department is restricting public access to fire stations and is restricting non-essential activities that require crews to leave their stations. Citizens should continue to call 911 for emergencies and to call 816-836-3600 for non-emergency issues.


• The Independence Police Department has closed the lobby of the Central Police Headquarters at 223 N. Memorial Drive. A telephone is there, available to make police reports and to speak with police personnel. Fingerprinting and Watch Guard Security licensing renewals have been extended through June and will not be renewed without further notice. Citizens are asked to call 911 for emergencies but to call 816-836-3600 for non-emergency events.


• The Independence Utility Center remains closed. Citizens are asked to pay their utility bills in one of the following ways: (1) using the website, https://www.ci.independence.mo.us/, (2) by the automated phone system at (816) 325-SERV, or (3) by using the drop box at City Hall, 111 E. Maple Ave., or the drop box at the Independence Utility Center, 17221 E. 23rd St. S. Payments placed in the drop boxes should be made via check or money order. All credit card and online transaction fees are waived until further notice.


• Water non-payment shut-offs in Independence have been suspended during the emergency.


• Independence building permits (plumbing, electrical, mechanical, and roofing) will be completed via the website at indep.us/permitportal.


• Independence business licenses should be renewed via the website at indep.us/businesslicenses.


• The Regional Animal Shelter in Independence is closed to the public so there will be no adoptions or surrenders of animals unless deemed an emergency. Call 816-325-7207 for assistance and information.


• Blue Springs city government phones will be answered. Call 816-228-0110. The website at www.bluesprings.com also lists specific phone numbers for city offices.


• Blue Springs buildings now closed to the public include City Hall, the Howard L. Brown Public Safety Building at 1100 S.W. Smith St., Vesper Hall at 400 N.w. Vesper St., The Fieldhouse at 425 N.E. Mock Ave., and the Public Works Operations building at 500 S.E. Sunnyside School Road.


• The Blue Springs police request that non-emergency calls be directed to 816-228-0151


• Blue Springs parks are partially open, but the dog park, park shelters, picnic areas, basketball courts, tennis courts, pools and rock walls are closed as is the Adams Pointe Golf Course.


• The Blue Springs Municipal Court has postponed all April cases. Phones at the court will be answered between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 816-228-0175. Parties and attorneys have been notified regarding these cases.


• Blue Springs building inspections and permits will be handled via mail, electronically, by the Citizens Self Service Portal, or by dropping off documents at City Hall.


• Water non-payment shut-offs in Blue Springs have been suspended during the emergency.


• Jackson County Parks + Rec has closed all workshops, leagues and field trips. However, parks, trails and boat ramps remain open to the public, though social distancing (maintaining a distance of 6 feet between individuals) is required. If you want to hike or bike, check out https://www.makeyourdayhere.com/168/Trails for a list of area trails.


• The 16th Judicial Circuit Court, with courthouses in Kansas City and Independence, remains under an emergency order of the Missouri Supreme Court until May 15. In-person hearings are strictly limited and necessary hearings will be held by telephone or video conferencing except in “...limited and extreme circumstances…” and per specific order of a judge.


All jury trials that were scheduled through May 31 have been continued and will be rescheduled to a later date. Court offices continue to be manned. A list of phone numbers of court clerks, the prosecuting attorney, and other pertinent officers are listed in the Court’s order which can be viewed by visiting 16thcircuit.org and looking under the “Public and Legal Notices.”