It was announced Monday the Gordon County Jail would resume a normal inmate visitation schedule this week.
“We are pleased to announce that effective Tuesday morning, April 6, the Jail will resume a normal inmate visitation schedule. Visitation has been restricted/suspended for several months due to guarding against the spread of COVID-19,” Sheriff Mitch Ralston said in a release.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, access to the county jail has seen several changes due to the pandemic.
“Although inmates have always had access to telephone and email communications, we know it is beneficial to both inmates and their families to be able to have live visits,” Ralston said. “I am particularly proud of my jail staff for their actions over the past year in ensuring that our inmate population was kept safe from COVID 19 outbreaks.”
On March 13 of last year, the jail was closed to the public except for bond postings. By mid-May of 2020, the Sheriff’s business office reopened, but visitations remained restricted at the jail.
In August, Sheriff Ralston reported positive COVID cases from two jail staff and an inmate at the facility. Overall, restrictions to public access seemed to help contain any potential widespread outbreaks among prisoners or jail staff, though January saw the jail staff’s loss of Capt. Mike Garigan as a result of complications from the COVID-19 virus.
Also affected by the pandemic had been inmate work details, which had been shut down since mid-March of last year when the initial round of COVID-related measures were implemented at the jail. Those details resumed the second week of March when the jail’s lobby was also reopened with a face mask requirement. Visitation resumption marks the first public policy change since those details restarted.