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The Pennington County Board will open the Government Center to the public at 12 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 5. Commissioners approved the change at their meeting earlier that day. Previously, the public could enter the building by appointment only.

It is up to division leaders whether their offices will be open to the public. The Pennington County Human Services Department will continue to see clients by appointment only. That decision includes the Child Support Division, which is located at the Government Center, which was formerly known as the courthouse.

Erik Beitel, Pennington County emergency management director, recommended the change. He said Inter-County Nursing Service had sought the change to accommodate people who are seeking to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Those individuals are among those who are able to be vaccinated as part of Phase 1A.

Beitel reported that Pennington County’s COVID-19 positivity rate went from 14.3% to 2.1% from Nov. 15 through Dec. 19.