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Census to continue amid coronavirus

Posted at 11:50 AM, Mar 23, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Starting in May, U.S. census workers will start knocking on doors and collecting information, and with everything that's been going on with the coronavirus in Nebraska and around the world, U.S. Census Bureau's Tim Olson said the census will still take place.

"Obviously, we are evaluating every day and every hour what is the impact of this pandemic, but right now, we are moving ahead," Olson said. "We are conducting the census. Just last week, we began mailing literally millions of invitations to households throughout the nation."

Olson said that mailing process will be completed by Friday, with every household in the nation having the opportunity to respond to the census using a smartphone, laptop, calling a number or responding by paper form.

As for the workers coming to people's homes and collecting information throughout May, June and July, Olson said they are monitoring the situation.

"There may be some delays that we enforce as far as when the actual field operation occurs," Olson said. "Regardless, we will be implementing social distancing, hygiene and other things to make sure not only are our employees safe, but also the American people is safe; both are very high priorities for us."

At this point Olson said they are not considering pushing back that collection of information

"It will depend on what the conditions are at that time, and it will also depend on what not only national health authorities, but also state and local health authorities are directing us to do or the American people to do," Olson said. "I think are our highest priority is that the American people and our temporary workforce are all safe."

Olson said more information will be shared soon as the bureau continues to monitor the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The bureau doesn't believe information will be effected by the pandemic, but Olson said he wants people to respond by phone, letter or online to avoid having workers go door-to-door.

"That that's the most critical thing in terms of the all of the multiple field operations that make up a census," Olson said. "You know, we're going to do the right thing. We're not going to put people in harm's way. We will modify those field operations as appropriate, and we will let everybody know what's happening."