COVID concerns limit courthouse access

Jury trials postponed until Feb. 1

By Sarah Hawley -

POMEROY — Due to rising COVID-19 cases in the county and state, access to the Meigs County Courthouse is being limited.

Those coming to the courthouse to conduct business are asked to call the office they will be visiting before coming as some business can be handled by phone or remotely eliminating the need to come in person. In addition, it is asked that only the person needing to conduct business enter the building. All others with the person will be asked to wait in the vehicle.

All visitors to the courthouse will enter the first floor entrance, where they will be met by a person who conducts both security and temperature screenings and will ask where the person is going in the courthouse. This is to ensure that no office is too crowded and will allow for business to be conducted in a manner safe for both the individual and the employees in the office.

In addition, at the discretion of the individual office holders, staff may be limited as was done in the early months of the pandemic with staff divided into groups to limit any potential COVID-19 spread.

In addition, Meigs County Common Pleas Court Judge Linda Warner issued an order this week which will limit the number of individuals in the courtroom at one time.

The order states in part,

The Court hereby reinstitutes curtailed or limited operations from Tuesday, December 2, 2020 through the close of business on Friday, January 29, 2021.

The Court shall remain open for business; however, the Court’s in-person hours shall be significantly limited.

Only persons necessary to support essential in-person hearings and essential administrative court functions shall be physically present at the Meigs County Common Pleas Court.

Through January 29, 2021, the Court will prioritize hearing cases utilizing videoconferencing technology to the extend possible. Priority shall be given to “Essential cases”, which are: Civil Protection Orders, Emergency Domestic Relations Matters and Bond Hearings.

Due to the increased risk of spreading COVID in large groups and in order to comply with the Governors mandate of having 10 or less persons in any event, jury trials must be suspended until February 1, 2021.

Judge Warner explained that her office has received multiple calls from individuals who were summoned to appear for jury duty expressing concerns related to COVID-19. Those concerns, along with the order limiting gatherings prompted the need to pause jury trials for the next few months explained Warner.

Masks continue to be required for all people visiting the Meigs County Courthouse.

© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

Jury trials postponed until Feb. 1

By Sarah Hawley

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.

Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.