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Private and public sector organizations are temporarily closing doors throughout Franklin Parish in response to Gov. John Bel Edwards “Stay at Home” order issued Sunday.

Edwards issued the order amid a COVID-19 outbreak across the state. Louisiana saw the highest initial growth rate of confirmed cases anywhere in the world, according to a study conducted at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“In the last two weeks, our growth rate has been faster than any state or country in the world,” Edwards said. “This is why it matters.”

Edwards noted that flattening the curve, or reducing the rate of COVID-19’s spread among the state’s population, would require more aggressive steps like a “Safer at Home” order.

“We can get past this but we’re going to have to take this mitigation measures seriously,” Edwards said.

The governor’s office pointed out the order is a mandate and a “legally enforceable order.”

One such public body that is temporarily closing its doors is the Franklin Parish School Board. The main office, along with all schools are closed, but residents are able to leave a message at (318) 435-9046. A reduced staff is present at the main office.

Franklin Parish Sheriff’s Office has minimized some staff but not in enforcement response, said Sheriff Kevin Cobb. Offices are limited to appointments and phone communication. Phone number is (318) 435-4505.

Franklin Parish Police Jury office is closed to the public, according to its contingency plan for COVID-19 virus response. Police Jury phone number is (318) 435-9429.

At press time, the Police Jury staff will continue to perform “essential functions while limiting their exposure,” according to the contingency plan. Public functions such as building permits can be processed over the phone or via e-mail and regular mail. The Police Jury is not set up to take credit card payments, but at the end of the building permit process, customers would be allowed inside the office for plan drop off and payment.

Public works department personnel have been instructed to remain inside the building when engaging with the public, according to the plan. Road department personnel have been instructed to have limited interactions with the public, and maintenance department personnel have been instructed to wear some form of personal protection equipment (PPE).

The Franklin Parish Clerk of Court’s office is closed to the public, but officials will continue to work. There is a drop box where filings can be placed. Phone number for the Clerk’s office is (318) 435-5133.

The Franklin Parish Tax Assessor’s office is closed to the public and are working with limited personnel, said Rod Elrod, assessor.

“We are working with a short staff to keep the central service going,” Elrod said. “Staff members are coming in as needed.”

Franklin Parish Tax Assessor’s number is (318) 435-5390.

Franklin Parish Library has also temporarily closed it doors. Until further notice, employees will not be present at the building.

There will be no fines or late fees charged to patrons during this time, said Onie Parker, library director.

“The staff and library board are aware of our obligation to the public but must balance the safety of the staff with the needs of the public,” library officials said in a release.

Patrons are encouraged to use the Cloud library to download eBooks.

A variety of databases are also available for patrons with a library card at the Franklin Parish Library page, franklinparishlibrary.org, under helpful links.

Also on the web page is the link to Homework Louisiana for all students, including college students, who are studying from home.

There will be no fines charged to patrons during this time and all books that are presently checked out will be due on April 14.

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