Alva Review-Courier -

Alfalfa County declares state of emergency; enacts new policies and procedures

 

March 19, 2020



Alfalfa County officials declared the county a disaster area during an emergency meeting they held Wednesday, Mar 18. (That declaration entitles it to aid, relief, and assistance in regards to COVID-19.) The declaration comes after Gov. J. Kevin Stitt declared an emergency in all 77 counties.

Commissioners (Jay Hague, Stan Tucker and Marvin Woodall) introduced the new protocol on security and protective measures, along with a definition of the continuity of operations. It was decided that the Alfalfa County courthouse would lock its doors until Apr. 20. Acknowledging the time of year it is (tax season) and the hassle locking the doors might bring, commissioners said safety and security of the courthouse and personnel are the top priority. With that being said, the county still must protect and serve its communities and doing so means county government business must continue.

Several policies have been enacted to carry that out:

• The courthouse doors will be locked at all times except for the south entrance located by the sheriff's office.

• The public's access will be limited to only allow entrance for necessary and specific reasons, including but not limited to court attendance, attorney/client meetings in the jail, and abstracting (limited to one abstractor at a time with prior appointment with the county clerk).

• Individuals can enter for specific reasons but only after being summoned or scheduling an appointment.

• The sheriff's office staff will conduct a screening of each person before granting access and if granted, the person will be confined only to the necessary portion of the courthouse.

• Signage will be displayed at each entrance instructing the public on procedures.

• Each elected officer will designate a particular place for a person to conduct their business within that office, and physical separation is mandated. That place must have the ability to be easily cleaned and disinfected.

• Correspondence over email, fax, or regular mail is preferred.

• The fairgrounds shall remain closed to the public during the county's disaster proclamation except for the Alfalfa County Election Office and the OSU Extension Office, which will both remain open.

• All employees are required to work during their normal business hours, but the emergency declaration and security concerns dictate how each elected official directs their employees.

• To ensure the county can continue operating, the determination of essential personnel is recommended. This would allow officers the ability to schedule or alternate employees.

• This plan is set to expire Apr. 20 unless extended. Any changes to the plan will be provided to each elected officer for dissemination.

 

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