County officials met Wednesday afternoon and agreed to close the courthouse at 5 p.m. that day.

The meeting was hastily called. The news media received 1 hour and 10 minutes advance notice.

The courts, which are under state jurisdiction, are open until further notice. If you are represented by an attorney, contact your attorney. If you are not represented by an attorney and have a court appearance, please call the County Court.

Bill Henry, the chairman of the commissioners, declared the emergency meeting was set to limit the outbreak of the corona virus. It was held with department heads in the district courtroom.

The commissioners discussed giving the public a one-day advance notice of the closure, but thought that would probably cause a rush of people, which would heighten fears of exposure to the novel corona virus, COVID-19.

The staff will continue to be in their offices and can be reached by telephone and email for the foreseeable future. The contact information and other details are HERE. If necessary, staff can meet people at the courthouse doors.

The commissioners plan to meet as scheduled at 9 a.m. Monday morning to review and discuss the situation. Public access to the meeting may be restricted but the news media will attend.

Non-essential courthouse employees who have been sent home will be granted personal leave with pay until it is reasonably safe for them to resume their normal duties, the commissioners said.