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Covid-19 continues to force changes, closures

Covid-19 continues to affect local residents from government offices to parks and recreational facilities as they update their regulations.

The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) is taking immediate steps to ensure access to critical services and benefits for customers while protecting the health of employees and the public in response to COVID-19. After a careful analysis of foot traffic and the health and safety guidelines for COVID-19 provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Tennessee Department of Health, the TDHS has decided to move to appointment only for in person services beginning Monday, March 23, 2020.

Local offices will have employees available to respond to questions or applications via telephone. Customers can find the number to their local office by going on online https://www.tn.gov/content/tn/humanservices/for-families/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-snap/office-locator-family-assistance.html.

These changes will remain in effect indefinitely for offices in each Tennessee county until the COVID-19 state of emergency is reduced. No issuance of benefits will be impacted as a result of these office closures. These TDHS services are always available online:

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutritional assistance benefits to children and families, the elderly, the disabled, unemployed and working families. Apply for services online https://faonlineapp.dhs.tn.gov/.

Families First provides temporary cash assistance, transportation, child care assistance, educational supports, job training, employment activities, and other support services. Apply for services online https://faonlineapp.dhs.tn.gov/.

The Child Support program provides services that promote parental responsibility to meet the financial needs of children and their families.Apply for services online https://csonlineapp.dhs.tn.gov/Home/Login. Payments can be made online https://tn.smartchildsupport.com/.

Adult Protective Services investigates reports of abuse, neglect (including self-neglect) or financial exploitation of adults who are unable to protect themselves due to a physical or mental limitation. Call toll free 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366) or report suspected abuse online https://reportadultabuse.dhs.tn.gov/

The Child Care Certificate Program provides child care financial assistance to families who are working or pursuing post-secondary education and who meet certain income eligibility requirements.

Apply for Child Care Payment Assistance/Smart Steps online at: https://cconlineapp.dhs.tn.gov/Home/Login.

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.

The local office of the Attorney General for the 8th Judicial District has suspended all in-office visits until April 6. However, all offices will remain staffed and operational during this time. If you need the assistance of any of the offices, you may contact the appropriate number listed below:

CRIMINAL DIVISION

Campbell County (423)562-4991

Claiborne County (423)626-8002

Fentress County (931)400-8080

Scott County (423)663-2544

Union County (865)992-8826

Drug Task Force (423)566-5843

CHILD SUPPORT DIVISION

Jacksboro (423)563-7632

Huntsville (423)663-2532

Members of the staff will continue to appear at all court proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic, and, without exception, ensure the rights of crime victims during this time. The staff will continue to be on call 24/7 to assist law enforcement partners in the event of an emergency.

“I deeply regret any inconvenience the suspension of in-office visitation will cause, but we all have a role to play in the battle against COVID-19. During these difficult, uncertain times, I encourage everyone to remember the words of my pastor from last Sunday’s sermon, ‘faith over fear, prayer over panic and Christ over chaos.’ May God continue to bless and keep us safe,” said Jared Effler, district attorney general.

The Cumberland Gap National Historical Park has further modified its operations with the closing of restrooms and the suspending of all picnic shelter reservations.

Outdoor spaces including the Pinnacle Overlook and trails remain accessible to the public. The National Park Service (NPS) encourages people who choose to visit the park during this pandemic to adhere to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local public health authorities to protect visitors and employees. As services are limited, the NPS urges visitors to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy.

The NPS is working with federal, state and local authorities to closely monitor COVID-19. The park will notify the public when full operations resume. Updates about Cumberland Gap’s operations are being posted to the park’s website at: www.nps.gov/cuga and the park’s Facebook Page at: www.facebook.com/CumberlandGapNHP/.

Visitors may also call the Park at: 606-248-2817.