Oak Ridge asks citizens to avoid in-person business, updates city service COVID-19 protocols

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (WATE) — City Manager Mark Watson is urging Oak Ridgers to conduct business over the phone and by mail whenever possible as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the city.

Most financial transactions can be handled electronically and via mail, according to a news release from the city. Those wanting to meet someone are asked to call the department’s extension directly.

Many of the city’s departments and services are modifying their protocols to allow for social distancing and limit face-to-face meetings. Visitors to some facilities may receive a temperature scan and inquiry about their current health. Most are requiring a mask to be worn.

Oak Ridge Municipal Building

The Municipal Building is partially open to the public with secured, badge-only areas in effect; only staff can access the majority of city departments.

Public access to the Municipal Building is restricted to the north entrance near the courtroom (labeled Court Public Safety), the Utility Business Office and Community Development permit window, and the entrance near the City Clerk’s office on the south side of the building, which is for handicap-access only.

For handicap access, contact the handicap-access helpline at 865-425-5377 for assistance.

Visitors can check in for their scheduled appointments at the Court Public Safety entrance. Masks are required to enter. Departmental services are still available electronically or by appointment.

Official records of city meeting will be established for review on the city’s website.

Oak Ridge Public Library

The library has returned to curbside pickup only. Library users are invited to place holds on books, movies, music, and audiobooks through the library’s catalog. Curbside hours are from 1-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

If you would like help finding items to read, watch, or listen to, call 865-425-3455 for assistance placing holds.

Wireless hot spots are also available to the public through the library’s curbside service. You can place hot spots on hold through the library’s catalog or call the front desk for assistance.

Patrons can print from their phone or other device via our mobile printing service at orpl.org and pick up their prints through curbside. Prints will be held for seven days, and cost 10 cents per page.

The library will continue to quarantine returned materials. Users may see a delay between the time they return an item and when it is removed from their account. No late charges will accrue while items are in quarantine.

The book drop will reopen on Sundays after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 18.

Utilities Business Office


The lobby to the Utilities Business Office has reopened to the public with COVID-19 precautions. A limited number of customers are allowed in the lobby at one time. Masks are encouraged.

Customers are still encouraged to make payments through online at payment.oakridgetn.gov, or by phone by calling 833-268-4341 (six-digit account number required). Customers are also welcomed to use the overnight drop box located in the parking lot at 200 S. Tulane Ave. or payments can be mailed to P.O. Box 1 Oak Ridge, TN 37831.

If you are in need of emergency assistance paying a utility bill, contact Aid to Distressed Families for Appalachian Counties at 865-483-6028.

Central Services


Public Works and Electrical Department services are still ongoing. The Central Services Complex is open to the public by appointment only.

If you need to reach Public Works call 865-425-1875 and for the Electric Department call 865-425-1803.

The Waste Connections Convenience Center on Warehouse Road has returned to accepting bulk items and metal, brush and yard waste.

Community Development

The permit desk, Community Development, and Codes division are currently closed to public access, but services are being provided electronically. If you need assistance with permitting or inspections email [email protected] or call 865-425-3532. For planning or general information, call 865-425-3531 and leave a message.

Oak Ridge Fire Department

All citizen visits and tours to fire stations and headquarters have been suspended. Fire administration may be reached by phone at 865-425-3520.

Oak Ridge Police Department

The main entrance to the police department is closed to the public. To file police reports, citizens should call the department for guidance at 865-425-3504.

City Court

All in-person proceedings in all state and local courts in Tennessee, including but not limited to municipal, juvenile, general sessions, trial, and appellate courts, are suspended through the close of business on Friday, Jan. 29.

Contact the Oak Ridge City Court Clerk’s Office at 865-425-3536 to schedule a new court date and time. Masks or face coverings must be worn at all times in the Court Clerk’s Office.

The City Court Clerk’s office is open for payment from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. or via mail. Citizens are encouraged to handle any transactions over electronically or via mail.

Animal Control

Oak Ridge Animal Shelter is temporarily closed to the public. Adoptions and owner reclaims must be scheduled by calling 865-425-3423.

If you have donations such as towels or blankets to share with the shelter, call the shelter during normal business hours to make arrangements to drop off the donation.

Animal Control will continue to respond to animal emergencies. Animal Control may be reached during normal business hours, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, at 865-425-3423. If you have a problem after-hours, call the Oak Ridge Police Departments nonemergency number 865-425-4399.

Senior Center

(865) 425-3999

A phased reopening of the Senior Center is underway. The center is open 9 a.m. to noon and 1-3 p.m. to allow for time to clean and disinfect between sessions.

Participants and staff are required to wear face masks and follow social distancing standards while in the building. Upon entry, all participants are asked COVID-19 screening questions and temperatures are checked.

Those who have COVID-19 symptoms are not permitted to participate in programs.

Participants are required to call ahead to schedule activities so that room and building capacity limits can be observed. The Recreation Room is available for pool or pingpong in one-hour increments, with a limit of six players at any one time.

The exercise room is open to schedule 45-minute sessions. Equipment use is limited to one machine per person per session and no more than three participants are allowed in the room at a time.

A limited number of spots for one-on-one technology assistance is also being offered to participants.

Participants are asked to bring bottled water, as water fountains are not open. The ETHRA Senior Nutrition Program Home Delivered Meals will continue.

The MyRide program is being discontinued. Residents may schedule rides for trips within the city with Oak Ridge transit by calling 865-482-2785 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Residents can schedule rides outside of the city by calling ETHRA transit services at 800-232-1565.

Recreation & Parks

City playgrounds are open with COVID-19 precautions in place. Trails, greenways and parks, tennis courts, and Blankenship Field and track remain open for walking and jogging use.

The indoor pool is open. You can view a schedule for group rentals and individual lap times online. Private pool parties and group/club outings are unavailable at this time. Locker rooms are unavailable at this time.

The Recreation Center is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Rooms are available for rent. Masks are required in all areas. Numbers in each area of the buildings are limited based on safety protocols. Call 865-425-3450 for specific room limits.

The Scarboro Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The restrooms at Melton Lake Park are open and cleaned by Parks Division staff. Adventures Outdoors is closed for the season.

Centennial Golf Course


Water coolers at the Centennial Golf Course remain off the course. Restrooms have been winterized and closed for the winter. Clubhouse restrooms remain open and are cleaned and sanitized daily.

The driving range and range machine are open.

The beverage cart is running more often to serve customers in the open environment and encourage distancing by not having to enter the clubhouse for food and beverage needs.

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