The Rapidian

COVID-19 in Grand Rapids: Wednesday, March 18 updates

City of Grand Rapids suspends walk-in traffic at City Hall and other departmental buildings, Kent County Clerk suspends in-person transactions, Festival of the Arts cancels 2020 event, and more statements from local organizations issued March 17-18, 2020.
Downtown Grand Rapids

Downtown Grand Rapids /Antonia Enos

Another day means more developments regarding various Grand Rapids organizations' responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shared in this Wednesday, March 18, 2020 update are statements from the City of Grand Rapids, the Kent County Health Department, the Kent County Clerk, and Festival of the Arts.

Grand Rapids Emergency Manager Allison Farole and Kent County Health Department Director Dr. Adam London provided an update on the COVID-19 situation and the City's and County's responses to it. They said the agencies are working closely together to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and monitoring all state and federal orders.

Their update shared changes the City is making in light of the situation to protect public health. The changes, which are effective today, March 18, through 11:59pm on April 5, include no walk-in traffic at City Hall, Development Center, Parks and Recreation and Public works departments, Water Resource Recovery Facility, Water Administration Building, and Mobile GR-Parking Services Department.

City Staff will still be available to provide services via email, phone, or the 311 phone line. Additionally, the City's website,, also offers a wide range of services.

Another important update comes from the Kent County Clerk and Register of Deeds Office, which has announced suspension of in-person transactions until further notice. The change, effective until further notice, will apply to the Clerk Office (Vital Records), Elections Department, Register of Deeds, and Clerk of the Circuit Court.

"Thankfully, a vast majority of our services can be requested and provided through other methods, especially online at," Kent County Clerk/Register Lisa Posthumus Lyons shared. "We will work to reassess the situation surrounding COVID-19 on a weekly basis to determine when we will re-open our offices to in-person transactions. We thank the public for their understanding in this challenging time."

Culturally, Grand Rapids will now no longer see Festival of the Arts this June. Festival of the Arts, Grand Rapids' annual summer celebration of art, music, and performances, has been cancelled by the Festival Board of Directors due to the "rapidly developing COVID-19 situation," with guidance from county, state, and federal health officials.

The cancellation of the festival, originally to have taken place June 5-7, is the first time this has occurred in its 50 years of existence.

David Abbott, executive director for Festival of the Arts, noted that "Festival leadership and our amazing team of volunteers remains committed to Art for All and looks forward to bringing the event back strong in 2021."

More information about Festival of the Arts' 2020 cancellation is available on their website.

The Rapidian will continue to report on all major local developments related to the spread of COVID-19 and the community's prevention and response methods. Local residents are encouraged at this time to share their own stories and perspectives related to the COVID-19 situation on The Rapidian's platform.

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