FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Local government and utility and banking sectors provided an update on the community’s response to COVID-19 and resources that are available to the public Tuesday afternoon.
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, Allen County Commissioners, representatives from City Utilities and STAR Financial Bank announced the following resources that are currently being provided to residents:
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5 EASY STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND OTHER INDIANA RESIDENTS DURING THE #COVID19 EMERGENCY— Indiana State Department of Health (@StateHealthIN) March 15, 2020
1. Clean and Disinfect
2. Cover Coughs and Sneezes
3. Wash Your Hands Often
4. Avoid Touching Your Face
5. Stay Home if You are Sick and Avoid Close Contact
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Indiana and Michigan Power
- Earlier this month, City Utilities suspended utility service disconnects for non-payment.
- In the field, during this crisis, City Utilities has suspended meter change-outs, including previously scheduled appointments, except in emergencies.
- The city says it is important for customers who are not able to pay or pay their full amount to contact customer service about their situation and work out a payment plan.
- Customers can use the kiosk located outside of Citizens Square and off of the parking lot at 200 East Berry St. to make payments or call customer service to discuss an account.
- NIPSCO recently announced that it has voluntarily suspended shutoffs for nonpayment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- This suspension applies to residential, commercial and industrial customers and will remain in effect until further notice.
- In addition, NIPSCO is offering its most flexible payment plans to customers who indicate either an impact or hardship as a result of COVID-19 and will suspend late payment charges until May 1.
- For further assistance, please call customer care at 1-800-4-NIPSCO or visit NIPSCO.com.
Indiana Michigan Power
- I&M says it does not anticipate any interruptions in our service related to the coronavirus.
- I&M says it will 10,000 masks and 10,000 individual nitrile gloves from their inventory to health-care workers and first responders throughout the areas they serve in Indiana and Michigan.
- I&M has temporarily suspended all service disconnections for non-payment.
- All customers will ultimately be responsible for paying their bill and are urged to try to keep their accounts up to date on payments.
- If a customer is going to have trouble paying their bill, you are asked to call I&M at: 1-800-311-4634 or through Facebook or Twitter to discuss payment options.
- STAR Financial Bank is working to provide short term loan relief options for retail customers if needed.
- In collaboration with the Small Business Administration, STAR officials say they are looking to facilitate several assistance programs to commercial and small business clients.
- STAR drive-up video banking is available at all locations from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, and STAR mobile and online banking are available 24/7 to all customers.
- STAR lobbies continue to maintain “special designated hours” by appointment only that can be set up through a Customer Service line.
- Residents are encouraged to check with their respective bank to see what services and help may be available.
“I’m encouraged that our utility and banking partners understand the significance of this pandemic and are responding accordingly. It’s vital for us to help meet the challenges that individuals, families, and businesses are experiencing,” said Mayor Henry. “By working together, we’ll get through this and be a stronger and more united community.”
“We hope our residents find the information we are providing valuable and helpful. Uncertainty in times like these often leads to anxiety, stress and tension. By directing our citizens to these resources which can provide assistance, we hope to reduce that uncertainty and stress so that we can all pull through this together,” said the Allen County Board of Commissioners.
With more cases of COVID-19 being confirmed in Allen County, leaders are stressing the importance of practicing social distancing, washing hands thoroughly and regularly and limiting activities in group settings.
Allen County COVID-19 updates
- Local officials on Tuesday are encouraging healthy residents to donate blood, if possible, through their local American Red Cross location.
- For residential customers served by the Allen County Regional Water and Sewer District, the Allen County Board of Commissioners announced that they will provide a grant to the district to offer residential ratepayers a one-time, 50% credit on an upcoming residential sewer bill.
- The public is encouraged to visit www.cityoffortwayne.org/covid-19 where a community resource page has been created that contains information about COVID-19, local government responses and other organizations that serve the public and how collectively there is help available to those who may need assistance.
- Citizens Square will remain closed to the public through at least April 6.
Mayor Henry says the public is reminded to be vigilant and use good judgment as a result of Governor Holcomb’s stay-at-home order.