City Hall in Joliet
City Hall in Joliet

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Joliet City Hall was closed to the public on Friday but still conducting business, city officials said as they announced a remote operations plan.

"The City will continue to conduct business and provide vital services to its residents while working remotely in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19," the city said in a news release.

The city website at joliet.gov includes new rules for public participation at city meetings and contact information for building permits, business licenses and other matters.

The public participation rules are likely to be tested Dec. 3 when the Plan Commission is to consider NorthPoint Development's new annexation plan for its Compass Global Logistics Hub.

The City Council chambers were packed to standing-room only conditions when the Plan Commission considered the NorthPoint plan in February before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city is not restricting public comment to phone calls and emails, as it did when the City Council considered the plan in April.

But live participation will be restricted, according to state guidelines allowing only 10 people in a room at a time.

According to rules posted on the website, people can speak directly to the council but only one will be allowed in the room at a time, and the speaker must be masked. Others will have to wait in another area in City Hall, a procedure that may be complicated if dozens of people show up.

People may also email comments to publiccomment@joliet.gov.

The city website includes a printable list of contacts for city business, including procedures for applying for building permits, license renewals, and conducting other business while City Hall remains closed.

The city has suspended late fees, credit card payment fees, and water turn-offs for non-payment until further notice.

"The city of Joliet is committed to providing essential services without interruption to its residents for the duration of the closure," the release said.

Joliet City Hall also was closed for several weeks in the spring at the beginning of the pandemic.

For more local news, visit The Herald-News at https://www.theherald-news.com.

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