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County courthouse set to reopen

After two months of being closed to the public, officials said Monday the Canadian County Courthouse will resume its operations next week — with some adjustments.
Canadian County District Judge Jack McCurdy issued an administrative order Monday that sets out guidelines for reopening the El Reno courthouse.
The facility has been closed to the public, by order of the Oklahoma Supreme Court, since mid-March.
All court dockets have been canceled, with the exception of emergency hearings.
The order states that beginning May 18, the courthouse will begin a gradual reopening with a limited docket.
McCurdy’s order stipulates the new guidelines for visitors to the courthouse, including that everyone entering the facility will be required to wear a mask or some type of face covering.
That guideline will remain in place until at least June 30.
In addition, anyone entering the courthouse will be required to have their temperature taken. Anyone registering over 100.4 degrees will be prohibited from entering.
All court personnel, including witnesses, will be required to wear a mask in the common areas of the courthouse and in the courtroom.
Access to the courtrooms will be limited to 10 people.
That number includes the judge, bailiff, court reporter and attorneys.
In addition, the jury docket for June has been canceled. Jury trials are set to resume in September.

Under the administrative order, defendants in criminal cases who are in custody will have their hearings held via video conference. Those who are out on bail will have their cases continued until after June 30.
Anyone wishing to complete a plea
agreement must make previous arrangements, the order states.

McCurdy’s order states that adoptions and guardianship cases can be completed under the order. However, it will require a little more work on the part of the attorneys.
The attorneys will be required to contact the bailiff for the appearance time and the name of the appropriate judge. The case will then be assigned a specific time for a hearing.
Meanwhile, small claims cases as well as traffic court and protective orders will be handled on a “check-in” basis so that only 10 people are in the courtroom at any given time.
Juvenile matters will continue to be held at the county children’s justice center on a staggered basis. Some officials will appear via Zoom.
Meanwhile, court documents will continue to be mailed or emailed to the court clerk’s office, the order states.
In addition, the north courthouse doors will remain closed to the general public.
Meanwhile, Andrew Skidmore, the county’s director of emergency operations, said he has contacted a vendor about providing up to four hand-sanitizing systems for the courthouse.
Two sanitizers would be placed on the first floor and two on the second.
In addition, he said he has obtained sufficient personal protection equipment for the courthouse staff as well as the public that might arrive without masks.

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