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Upshur County facilities could open May 18 — but commissioners say reopening date depends on governor’s guidance

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur County Commission has delayed the reopening of the Upshur County Courthouse, courthouse annex and all other county facilities until Monday, May 18.

The commission discussed reopening procedures for county facilities during the Thursday, May 7 commission meeting, which took place via teleconference.

Upshur County Administrator Carrie Wallace laid out the new policies that will be implemented as county facilities reopen.

“The reopening of the facilities is being postponed until Monday, May 18,” Wallace said. “I do have a list of procedures here that have been compiled from our previous conversations just to review, and these are procedures that will be implemented.”

“However, they are subject to change based on the release of the governor’s guidelines for the reopening of governmental buildings,” she added.

Wallace said disposable masks, gloves, Clorox wipes, disinfectant, rags, hand sanitizer and signage with be given to all offices before the reopening, and two part-time housekeepers will be hired to help with additional sanitation efforts in the courthouse and annex.

“Those part-time employees will actually begin employment Monday the 11th, and they’ll have a full week of cleaning prior to the courthouse reopening, and those are in addition to our full-time housekeeper, Juanita, and our contract for the courthouse for the cleaning,” Wallace said.

She said no-touch thermometers will be used at the entrance to take the temperatures of the members of the public and in keeping with the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, temperatures of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be considered a fever. Disposable masks will be available to the public, and Wallace said they will be encouraged, but not required, to wear them or another face covering.

Social distancing of at least six feet apart will also be practiced.

“The maximum occupancy of the elevator will be reduced to two people so long as the CDC is recommending social distancing measures be in place,” Wallace said. “Staff will be required to wear both masks and gloves when working directly with the public. Plexiglas barriers will be installed in all offices that do not currently have glass enclosures. These include the county clerk’s office, assessor’s office, probation office, addressing and mapping and WVU extension office.”

People who work in facilities without barriers will be required or wear masks and gloves at all times when members of the public are in the facility, including the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control Facility and the James W. Curry Library in Brooks Hill.

“Volunteers will be permitted to resume activities at the Lewis-Upshur Animal Control facility; however, masks or other face coverings and gloves will be required while inside the facility and adoptions will be by-appointment only and only one adopter will be permitted within the facility at a time,” Wallace said.

She said the maximum number of people in each office will be determined by the elected official or supervisor in accordance with legislative rules.

“The rules state that in a space under 1,000 square feet, there can be no more than five individuals, and [in a space over 1,000 square feet], you may have two people per 1,000 square feet,” Wallace said.

However, she noted the two people per 1,000 square feet rule does not apply to employees.

Commissioner Sam Nolte said employees who are still able to telework should continue to do so for now.

“In my opinion, if you can still do telework, even at the next level, they’re still recommending that,” Nolte said. “If you can do some telework, continue to do that, and try to bring your staff back on as you see fit. We’re still trying to keep in mind social distancing, and slowly ramping it back up to normal.”

Twenty-sixth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Jacob Reger said his office received new orders the day before the meeting from the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals, saying they cannot have grand jury until June 15 and no jury selection may be conducted until June 29.

Nolte wanted to thank everyone for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I just appreciate everybody hanging in there; this has definitely been awkward for everyone,” Nolte said, “but the Commission’s lucky because you guys have been keeping everything running really smoothly, and I know we keep talking about the 18th. We were talking about the 11th last week, so just be prepared that it may not be the 18th next week – it all depends on what direction we get from the governor.”

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