DALLAS - Some of the busiest government buildings in Dallas County are closing their doors because of COVID.
Dallas County tax offices are closed to the public until further notice. Instead, workers are processing paperwork online or by the phone.
County Leaders blame spiking COVID cases among employees and an effort to cut down indoor crowds.
The county says the tax offices need to be closed right now in the interest of public health. But the closures caught a lot of the public by surprise.
COVID is closing tax offices in the county's seven government centers. People showing up to do business Tuesday were turned away.
Rutha Barksdale says she's been trying to get a handicap parking hanging tag.
"When I had spoken to them on the phone, the tax office yesterday, they told me to get the paperwork and bring it here," she said.
But late Monday, Dallas County Tax Assessor John Ames ended in-person business for now.
"I’m wearing a mask on a regular basis for this interview right now," he said. "I’m in my office with the door closed."
Ames says he has over 50 workers out sick.
"Due to the COVID outbreak and vacancies, I mean it was not safe and secure for us to keep the offices open," he said.
Last week, 17,000 people went through the seven county tax offices
"The worst thing we could do right now is put a crowd of people into a small area and have them spread the virus," Ames said.
Vehicle registration is still happening in supermarkets.
For now though, face-to-face dealings like paying property taxes have moved online to dallacounty.org/tax.
Robert and Michelle Myers are trying to pay property taxes but don’t like online.
"We're kind of old school," Robert said.
"We prefer not to go online," Michelle said. "We prefer to come in get a receipt and go home. That’s what we like to do."
"As a public servant, it breaks my heart to close to the public," Ames said. "But at this point, this is the best help I can give them right now."
The tax offices will be closed until further notice at least until Monday.