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Newton residents line up during first week of in-person courthouse service
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Austin Taylor waits behind others in line for the county tag office this week after the county administration building opened for the first time to in-person service since March.

COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County residents lined up this week on the first days in months they were able to go in person for everything from tags and titles to registering to vote.

Newton County government offices reopened to the public under the guidelines set by the governor and Centers for Disease Control Monday, June 15, after most government offices had closed in mid-March of safety concerns from the coronavirus pandemic.

Six-foot distancing limited the amount of people allowed inside the Newton County Administration Building and Historic Courthouse, which led to lines stretching outside.

Visitors to higher-trafficked departments visitors to the tax and tag office, assessor’s office and elections office were required to enter through the north side of the Administration Building. 

At the Historic Courthouse, a limited number of people were allowed inside at one time to purchase Convenience Center Vehicle Hang Tags. 

Mike Vassello said he had waited in line for vehicle tags for about 90 minutes before making it to the front. 

"You gotta do what you gotta do," he said as he waited to enter the building.

He said he preferred to do his business with the county in person rather than online.

"I'm not a real internet kind of guy," Vassello said.

Brian Lambert said he understood why he could not visit the administration building until now because the pandemic led to government offices being closed.

"It's to be expected," he said.