O’Brien County, Iowa — The portions of the O’Brien County Courthouse that come under the County’s control have now entered Phase 3 of the reopening process following restrictions brought about by the pandemic.
In a release from O’Brien County Emergency Management Coordinator Jared Johnson, he says the courthouse returned to “new normal” operations effective today (Tuesday, May 25th). He says the mask requirement has been lifted and now both the east and west entrances to the courthouse are once again open to the public.
Johnson says portions of the courthouse that are operated by the State of Iowa, including the third floor courtroom and court offices, may have different mask requirements.
The O’Brien County Courthouse was closed down last year due to the pandemic. Johnson had proposed a 3-Phase reopening of the courthouse just over a year ago, with no timetable set to put the plan into action.
In Phase #1, county employees who had been working from home were to return back to their offices. Visitors to the courthouse would need to make an appointment in advance, and were encouraged to wear a mask inside the courthouse. The building’s east entrance was to be used for entry by the general public, while the west entrance became an employee-only entrance.
In Phase #2 of the plan, many of the Phase #1 items were left in place. Changes included Department Heads identifying the number of visitors allowed in their office at a time, and social distancing was to be maintained whenever possible. Departments were urged to use floor markings to indicate where visitors should be located.
In September of last year, the County instituted a “Modified Phase 2,” which kept the east entrance as a public entrance and the west door as an employee entrance, required the wearing of masks and maintaining social distancing, and required visitors to leave the courthouse in a timely manner once they had completed their business.
But as of May 25th, “Phase 3” is in effect, mask mandates are gone for all but the building’s 3rd Floor, and both east and west entrances are available for use by the general public.