Wednesday, March 18, 2020

County Courthouse Begins Limited Access

During a special meeting Wednesday afternoon the Sequoyah County Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a "limited access" policy for the Sequoyah County Courthouse and all offices operating within the courthouse due to COVID-19 concerns.

Prior to the meeting the county commissioners met with county officials to discuss strategies to continue the day-to-day business of the county primarily by utilizing phone and online methods. 

The limited access policy means that the doors to the courthouse will be locked to the public but employees will continue to work on the inside. Each office will post on the outside door a list of instructions for ways to contact their respective office and also suggestions on how to conduct the majority of business by phone or online.

Emergency business will be handled on a case-by-case basis but officials stated that they would be on hand to ensure that all business is taken care of. Those with emergency cases are encouraged to first call the office in question and speak with the elected official.

With the second half of property taxes due by the end of the month taxpayers are urged to pay online. Commissioners stated that some exceptions may be made if needed.

Many upcoming court cases will be rescheduled or postponed and there will be no jury trials at this time due to the limit placed on the number of people allowed to gather. Some preset court hearings will continue with access being limited to the judge, clients, attorneys and witnesses. Each case will be looked at individually.

"Our main concern is for the safety of all of our employees and the citizens of our county," stated District 3 Commissioner Jim Rogers. "This is not to panic the public. Nationally they are asking us to do our part for the next 15 days to help curb the epidemic. Basically that's what we are looking at doing here."

The limited access policy will be effective until April 2 and will be reassessed at that time.

District 2 County Commissioner Steve Carter also added that there are currently 10 testing kits in Sequoyah County and 160 kits are due anytime. "This is not a good situation," Carter said. "But we'll get through it. We're tough people here."

Sequoyah County Emergency Director Steve Rutherford pointed out that there currently have been 407 people tested for the  COVID-19 virus in the state of Oklahoma and only 29 have tested positive. Of those 29, one has already recovered. There are currently no known cases in Sequoyah County.

KXMX News Staff

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