St. Clair County Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson indicated in a press release issued Friday afternoon that the courthouse will remain open amid concerns over the COVID-19 threat. He also issued a number of advisories for the general public, jurors, litigants and employees.
"Although the present risk level in our area remains low, health care professionals advise that we should all minimize contact to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus," the release states.
The following measures will be observed at the courthouse:
- Courthouse Environment: Building maintenance has intensified its cleaning and disinfecting efforts, especially with respect to surfaces commonly touched like railings, doorknobs, etc. Patrons observed coughing or sneezing may be asked to wear a mask which will be provided if sufficient supplies are available. Such a request must be honored.
- Juries: The Court system cannot function without juries. Ways to minimize the need for jurors to be summoned to the courthouse are being reviewed. While some jurors will still be summoned, reducing the numbers summoned will create a less congested environment and increase the personal space available for summoned jurors.
- Sick Jurors: If a person summoned for jury duty is ill, that individual should call the number listed on the jury summons to discuss the situation. Attempts will be made to accommodate.
- Litigants: If one feels ill as a scheduled case is set to begin, consider the following: Contact the opposing party or attorney to explore an agreed continuance. If there is no agreement, contact the Circuit Clerk’s Office to advise if unable to attend court. Judges will consider on a case-by-cased basis whether a continuance of the court date is in order. Providing medical documentation will likely help.
- Marriages: The Court will continue to perform marriages in the courthouse as needed. However, only the couple being married will be allowed to attend. Please do not bring additional people to the courthouse to attend the wedding.
- Employees: The Court’s directive to its employees is that if you are sick, stay home. However, the Court realizes that honoring that request may be difficult if the employee has limited sick time. The Court is formulating policies to soften the blow for employees affected by the coronavirus so as to prevent unwell employees from coming to work.
On Saturday, public health officials announced that two St. Clair County residents tested positive for coronavirus - the first two presumptive positive cases in the county.