The McCracken County Courthouse is set to reopen to the public Monday for the first time since March 19, when it closed due to COVID-19.
The reopening is a part of Team Kentucky’s Healthy at Work plan, which confirmed the scheduled reopening of government offices and agencies to be Monday.
McCracken Judge-Executive Craig Clymer issued an executive order Thursday detailing how the courthouse will operate for the foreseeable future.
“I’m cautious about the whole thing, but I feel like we need to reopen,” Clymer told The Sun.
“People have been waiting to do their business and I think it’s time — we just have to take great precautions to not bring the virus into our building.”
Paducah City Hall will not be reopening Monday, as the installation of plexiglass partitions in the Customer Experience, Finance, and Fire Prevention areas continues, Paducah Public Information Officer Pam Spencer said Thursday.
Business at city hall will continue to be conducted through phone, email and online, as well as the drop box in the front of the building.
Clymer’s order laid out the following requirements for the courthouse:
• Everyone wishing to enter, including employees, must wear a mask, unless a health condition prohibits this. If that is the case, a medical doctor’s written exemption is required.
• McCracken County employees must wear a mask at all times while assisting the public.
• A minimum of 6 feet must be between people at all times, in compliance with social distancing guidelines.
• All McCracken County offices will remain at 50% staffing until further notice and at no more than 33% of the occupational capacity of the office and facility. This is a precaution being taken not only for the safety of the employees but to ensure that the county could continue operations should there be spread within the employee ranks.
• Any meetings — including the county fiscal court — that can be conducted via conference call or videoconferencing will continue as such, if practicable.
Several details about the McCracken County Clerk’s Office were also in the order.
It will be open only by appointment and exclusively to conduct private vehicle transfers, notary public applications and marriage licenses. All other business will continue to be conducted by mail, internet or telephone.
“We’re hoping that people will continue to do a lot of business by mail, email and telephone,” Clymer said. “Anything that we can do remotely — any business we can conduct, any meetings, etc. — we will continue to do so.
“We’re trying to keep as little traffic down at the courthouse as possible.”
The clerk’s office will open for voting in the primary election June 8-23. On the last day of voting, June 23, the courthouse will be closed to all other public purposes.
Clymer referred to maintaining the sanctity of the election as one of his main concerns.
All offices will be cleaned and disinfected daily, Clymer added, using the more than 60 gallons of disinfectant acquired by the county.
Court offices will not be opening Monday and Clymer does not anticipate them doing so until late June. A local task force is being formed to look into what options the local court system has.
While Clymer isn’t sure how long the measures put down in his order will be in effect, he is watching the higher levels of government for his cues.
“I’m following pretty tight with the state and federal guidelines. I’m not trying to get creative on my own,” he said. “When they’re comfortable and I’m comfortable then we’ll lift those or maybe modify them. There could be a middle ground as well.”