Upshur County Courthouse
Upshur County Courthouse

Emergency meeting: Upshur County Courthouse closed until Oct. 21

The Upshur County Commission voted to close the Upshur County Courthouse until Oct. 21 during an emergency meeting Wednesday afternoon.

The decision comes just two days after the commission had decided to follow the West Virginia School Alert Map as far as courthouse operations. Because Upshur County is listed as red this week, the courthouse had already limited access to all but essential business.

Since then, several additional cases of COVID-19 have been reported locally and more are expected in the coming days.

Upshur County Administrator Carrie Wallace said 82 cases of COVID-19 are currently active, and many of the results from the free testing events held at Buckhannon-Upshur High School on Monday and Tuesday are still pending.

“We’ve started to get the cases back from Monday’s testing, but they have not all been returned,” Wallace said. “The testing from Tuesday, none of those results are back yet and we do have another public testing planned for [Thursday] at Buckhannon-Upshur High School from noon to 6 p.m.”

Wallace discussed tightening and extending the closure already in place.

“There is a lot of essential business within the courthouse, and a fair number of individuals still have access,” Wallace said. “What I discussed with other elected officials, as well as the judges today, was the potential of shutting down for two weeks and only being open for time-sensitive essential business”

Individuals with business that fits that narrow description will need to make an appointment and let court security know where they are going in the courthouse.

“If someone has a cash tax payment to make, they can make arrangements to make that payment with court security, and we also have the ability to accept those online or via telephone or via the drobox in the Chancery Street alley,” Wallace said. “They will still be able to take care of DMV-related time sensitive matters by appointment with court security, and then individuals will still be able to register to vote as well, going through court security, with the county clerk’s office.”

Wallace said facilities will have to at least partially reopen by Oct. 21 for early voting.

“Another item for consideration, if you are going to close county facilities, is the Curry Library with their virtual school program,” Wallace said. “Judith [Williams, James Curry Library Director] said she has around 10 kids per day, and they’re from five different families that alternate days… They do count on that facility for internet access to get their virtual schoolwork done.”

Upshur County Commission president Terry Cutright said he thought the library was isolated enough that they could remain open, and commissioners Kristie Tenney and Sam Nolte agreed.

Nolte made the motion to close county facilities, except the James Curry Library, for two weeks and reopen Oct. 21 for early voting. Tenney seconded the motion.

“We may not open the courthouse completely on the 21st because we don’t know what’s going to happen next week or the week after that, but at a minimum, we will open for early voting,” Cutright said.

News Feed

Subscribe to remove popups, or just enjoy this free story and support our local businesses!