A business license in St. Clair costs $50 annually.

Although it has been reopened for two weeks, the St. Clair License Office is still experiencing a large influx of calls and messages left by customers attempting to schedule appointments.

After its opening day was met with an overwhelming amount of customers waiting to be served by a number system, the office was forced to change its customer waiting operations in an effort to keep both customers and employees safe.

Despite the large number of messages, Charlene Saling, executive director of the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce, says the appointment process the office has implemented has been a success.

“Our appointment system has worked out well and we have received many compliments from those we have served through that method,” she said.

Saling added that while the system is working, she asks that the public be patient.

“We do understand the frustration many feel by not being able to contact us due to busy lines and full mailboxes, both of which indicate how busy we are,” Saling told the Missourian.

She explained that office staff is to the point in the backlog where they are able to pull voice messages at the end of the day and start working on getting appointments for those customers.

The license office employees also are faced with having to handle requests for appointments through email, Facebook and many personal text messages as well.

“Today is Monday and I am working on Thursday’s schedule, if that helps people understand the volume we are dealing with at this time,” said Saling, who expects that the office will turn the corner this week, as it only had 100 messages waiting to be answered when employees returned on Monday morning, and there was still room on one of the mailboxes for messages.

Appointments

To schedule an appointment, individuals must call the office at 636-629-6000.

There will be no walk-in service, including questions regarding transactions.

Face-to-face appointments, as well as drop-off transactions, will all be handled through the scheduler.

As precautions, the license office has installed sneeze guards, sanitizes in between customer interactions as much as possible and closes between 12:30 and 1 p.m. daily to perform a thorough cleaning.

In addition, the office has eliminated any in-office waiting time and has limited individuals in the office to only those who are conducting business.

The last appointment for each day is 4:30 p.m., which allows staff to sanitize thoroughly and be ready for the first customer at 9 a.m. the next day.

According to Saling, the office has chosen to utilize this method of operations because it wishes to be prudent in its operational standards during the current COVID-19 environment.

“By scheduling appointments and calling everyone from their car when it is their turn, we can practice social distancing, thereby protecting all who visit our office,” said Saling.