Bend Area towns respond to COVID-19

By Mindy Kearns - Special to the Register

BEND AREA — Bend Area municipal government offices are continuing as normal, but with some minor adjustments due to COVID-19.

Both the Mason and New Haven town halls will remain open, but residents are being asked to use alternate means of paying water and sewer bills if possible. The water office for the Town of Hartford is closed for the remainder of the week, but for reasons unrelated to the virus, according to Recorder Cheryl Oldaker.

In New Haven, a Coronavirus preparedness plan has been posted to the town’s website at Officials are asking residents to limit face-to-face contact in the office, and use the drop box or mail for cash and check payments. Card payments are also being accepted by phone during the pandemic, but the card must be in the caller’s name.

Since phone payments are being taken, residents are urged to only call the town hall if it is necessary. Those who are feeling sick or experiencing symptoms are asked to not enter the building.

Town officials said they are continuing to supply the food box in front of the city building, and urge people to only take what they need. Donations continue to be accepted for the box.

Roller skating at the New Haven Community Building has been cancelled on Friday evenings. The Easter egg hunt, scheduled for April 4, has also been cancelled.

In Mason, Mayor Donna Dennis said the town hall will remain open unless workers begin to feel that it is a detriment to their health. If that point comes, she said office employees will continue to work, answering phones and crediting payments left in the drop box or by mail. Mason also offers an online bill pay.

Dennis said the office usually serves only one or two face-to-face customers at a time, and so far, no one has come in sick. Precautions are being taken, however, with hand sanitizer available at the door.

Thursday’s town council meeting will go on as scheduled at 6:30 p.m., the mayor added. She said chairs will be separated for the public that attends (usually less than 10 people), and they will be asked to use the hand sanitizer upon entering. Anyone feeling ill or showing symptoms should not attend, and can call the office later for meeting details.

“We will be voting on the budget,” Dennis said. “There are things that need done, and we have to continue doing them.”

The Easter egg hunt, scheduled for April 4 has been cancelled. The mayor said a children’s event might be held in the future to replace it.

Hartford’s town council meeting, set for Thursday at 5 p.m., has been cancelled.

© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

By Mindy Kearns

Special to the Register

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at

Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at