Courthouse reopens; county seeks local control
The county courthouse reopened Tuesday, but not without restrictions and not until after commissioners sent a letter to the governor asking for more local control of COVID-19 limitations.
In their letter to Gov. Laura Kelly, commissioners said they were concerned about the “broad scope” of the state’s reopening plan and “its one-size fits all approach.”
“We believe it is extremely unreasonable to place the same restrictions on counties with few or no cases as are placed on counties with large population centers and high infection rates,” commissioners wrote.
Commissioners asked that authority to formulate plans to safely reopen local economies be given to local elected officials.
Commissioners debated limiting courthouse access to appointment only but ultimately decided to allow visitors subject to screening and other limits.
“It’s not fair to the public to remain closed,” commissioner Dianne Novak said.
Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt county clerk Tina Spencer’s proposal to reopen in a way that complies with current state recommendations.
Only the south entrance is unlocked. Visitors will answer health and travel questions at a check-in station.
Visitors are encouraged to wear a mask. If they don’t have a mask, one is offered to them.
Hand sanitizer also is available.
County employees are being required to wear masks and deal with the public behind sneeze guards.
Visitors must check out when they leave.
The north stairway is used to go up, and the south stairway is used to go down.
Signs in the hallways remind visitors of social distancing and indicate the number of visitors allowed in each office. Tape marks on the floor indicate where visitors are to stand outside whatever office they plan to visit.
Public areas and frequently-touched items are being sanitized at least twice a day.
District court will have its own procedures.
Department on Aging and Planning and Zoning will be open by appointment only.
For mapping, visitors are being encouraged to make an appointment before coming to the courthouse.
Researchers coming to the register of deeds office are being encouraged to call ahead to avoid long wait times.
Drivers license service remains closed.
Commissioners also expressed dissatisfaction Monday with restrictions imposed by the state.