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Courthouse requires public to mask up

FAIRMONT– County attorney Terry Viesselman shared some news regarding face coverings during the Martin County Commissioner meeting on Tuesday.

Viesselman said the courts, which is a state-run office, received information from the chief justice regarding masks. Effective Oct. 19, anyone entering a court facility must wear a face covering while in the courtroom and in common areas, such as hallways and restrooms.

“The CDC is still only recommending masks. That was our logic for having signs to say we recommend it, but we don’t mandate it,” said Elliot Belgard.

Commissioner Kathy Smith said to avoid confusion, she thinks they should require masks in the common areas in the courthouse for the public and staff.

“That would make it easier because otherwise how do you explain to the public coming in what the common area outside of the court is,” said Viesselman.

Smith made a motion to require masks.

Commissioner Koons clarified that that doesn’t require masks to be worn by staff while in their office. Belgard said it applies to everyone in common areas.

Belgard said if they mandate it, they need to supply masks for the public to use when they come in.

“We can certainly do that,” said county coordinator, Scott Higgins.

It was asked if the mandate will apply to other county buildings, such as the library and highway department. Belgard said since they’re not associated with the court, it wouldn’t apply to them.

The mandate will apply to staff and visitors in the courthouse and the law enforcement building.

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