Courthouse closes to public

Published 4:12 pm Wednesday, April 1, 2020

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The Chilton County Commission declared that the courthouse will be closed to the public for 14 days beginning April 1.

“The health of our employees and residents comes before money,” Parnell said. “We have to do the right things.”

All online services are still available, and a limited number of staff from each department will still be present in the building with many working from home if possible.

Phone numbers have been posted on the courthouse entrance doors for residents to call the designated department head if they feel they have a pressing matter that needs to be addressed.

If the department head deems the need a true emergency, then an appointment will be scheduled to enter the courthouse.

“We’re hearing from the president all the way down that an increase in cases of the virus is expected in the next couple of weeks,” Commission Chairman Joseph Parnell said. “It’s a scary and unsettling time for many people.”

After the 14-day period, the Commission will re-evaluate the situation moving forward.

“If we [cases] haven’t fallen off the back side of the curve, we may keep it closed for longer,” Parnell said. “Let’s see how the statistics roll in, and we’ll follow the governor’s leadership as much as we can.”

The tag office is included in the closure decision, as it is considered an annex of the courthouse.

The state has mandated that all due dates for driver’s licenses and car tags be extended until the governor declares differently.

According to Parnell, the maintenance staff was the lone department to be excluded from the “skeleton staff” measures on site at the courthouse due to the importance of keeping the building properly sanitized.

Parnell pointed out that there are still a lot of people meeting in groups of more than 10 people, and stressed the importance for everyone to treat the current situation with the proper respect.

“This is something that’s turning out to be much more serious than just the flu,” Parnell said.