The Floyd County Judicial Center will reopen at 9 a.m. Thursday with precautions in place to avoid the spread of the new coronavirus.
According to the county clerk's office:
Those needing to take out Family Violence Petitions and Temporary Protective Orders may get them from the sheriff deputies stationed in front of the courthouse. A judge will be available in the tent in front of the courthouse at 3 p.m. to issue the appropriate orders.
Chief Magistrate Gene Richardson will continue to hold first appearance hearings and bond matters by video with inmates in custody.
Anyone scheduled for a hearing in any court may contact the appropriate court for rescheduling.
The Floyd County Judicial Center will remain closed through Wednesday in order to conduct a full cleaning of the courthouse after a county employee tested positive for COVID-19.
“In response, the sheriff has requested the opportunity to conduct a thorough cleaning of the courthouse and (Chief Judge Bryant Durham) has determined best practices dictate a further and more concerted effort in social distancing,” an order signed on Monday read.
The Floyd County Sheriff’s Office previously purchased a fogging machine to disinfect the jail and used it Sunday evening.
When the courthouse reopens Thursday at 8 a.m. they will be taking additional measures on top of screening outside.
“We’re going to require masks for everyone who comes in the courthouse,” Sheriff Tim Burkhalter said. “If you don’t have one we’ll supply you with one.”
Because of the closure, all summons, court deadlines, or filing requirements are suspended or extended for the duration of the closure.
The courthouse has been open to the public but only having hearings deemed essential during a statewide judicial emergency order expected to expire on June 12.
Even when many operations return to normal, there is a plan to move some of the larger hearings to the Forum River Center. In late April, the county commission passed a resolution making the large event venue an annex for the Rome Judicial Circuit.
At that time, Floyd County Superior Court Judge Jack Niedrach said the courtrooms at the Judicial Center aren’t big enough to properly accommodate social distancing for jurors, judges, attorneys and other necessary persons to conduct court.
By using the Forum — specifically the ballroom, conference rooms and the arena if necessary — it will allow the court to have people spread out over a large area.
As of Monday at 7 p.m. the Georgia Department of Public Health reported that 268 Floyd County residents had been diagnosed with COVID-19. There have also been 15 Floyd County residents who have died as a result of the disease.
Statewide there have been 47,899 people diagnosed with the disease as well as 2,089 deaths. Of those infected there have been 1,818 people admitted to ICU and 8,302 hospitalized because of the disease.