MURRAY — Earlier this month, the U.S. Census Bureau began mailing out documentation for the 2020 Census, and in the wake of the closures as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Census Bureau is making operational changes.

Murray’s LaDawn Hale, partnership specialist with the bureau, said she was unable to comment on the ever-changing COVID-19 pandemic and how it might impact the census. Hale provided a press release from the bureau from Bureau Director Steven Dillingham, outlining some of the changes that will come in the wake of the pandemic.

The release said that as of last Tuesday, March 18, more than 11 million households had responded to the census.

“Beginning (March 18), in support of guidance on what we can all do to help slow the spread of coronavirus, 2020 Census field operations will be suspended for two weeks until April 1,” Dillingham said in the release. “The Census Bureau is taking this step to help protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone going through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions.”

The release said that during the pause in field operations, the bureau will continue to evaluate all operations of the 2020 Census. Should any additional adjustments need to be made, those changes will be communicated broadly and promptly.

“In late May, census takers around the nation will begin visiting households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census to help complete the count,” the release says. “As we continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, we will adjust census taker and survey operations as necessary in order to follow the guidance of federal, state and local health authorities.”

The release strongly encourages residents to participate in the census. People can respond online at 2020Census.gov.

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