County courthouse opens further for the public

Board of Supervisors
By: 
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Effective Monday, June 29, the Jones County Board of Supervisors authorized the further re-opening of offices within the courthouse.

     The board made the decision during their June 23 meeting.

     The following guidelines will take effect:

     • Door security at the west entrance will continue

     • Temporal screening will continue (temperature checks)

     • Individual health screenings will be eliminated

     • A document with three health questions, determined by Public Health, will be at the entrance/sign-in area

     • The sign-in sheet will continue, with the patron’s signature acknowledging the three screening questions

     • Individual offices will determine the need for appointments vs. walk-ins

     • One entrance (west door) and one exit (north door) will continue (unless patrons require use of the elevator)

     • Individual offices will determine the visitor limit for their office space, social distancing, etc.

     EMA Coordinator Brenda Leonard sent out an email to department heads, and informed the board that the responses were 50/50 in terms of whether the courthouse should stay with appointments only or slowly re-open. However, the one consensus was to maintain one entrance and one exit.

     “It’s working out really well but we need more signage,” she told the board, in terms of direction signage.

     Leonard also encouraged the continuation of the sign-in sheet so staff knows who’s been inside the courthouse should someone contract COVID-19.

     While court cases have yet to resume, the board of supervisors and county staff felt things would be reevaluated at that time.

     County Treasurer Amy Picray said her office has opened up their driver’s license schedule with 20 appointments a day.

     “It’s a struggle now because we’re booked through June 30,” she said. “We have more appointments on the motor vehicle side and we might not be able to clean up.”

     Picray said the DOT is pushing people to file through the mail, using the courthouse’s exterior drop-box.

     In addition, she said it’s hard to schedule permit appointments for youth trying to get their driver’s permit, especially when driver’s license tests are more important right now for people needing to renew for employment.

     Picray said she encourages appointments because people can be out of her office and the courthouse in 20-30 minutes rather than a couple of hours as a walk-in.

     She had asking people to make appointments has cut down on the number of driver’s license test no-shows, as someone from the Treasurer’s Office calls their appointees prior to their appointments.

     “We’re making 40-50 phone calls between 8-9 a.m.,” Picray said of conducting health screenings over the phone.

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