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Special Notice Re: COVID-19

IN THE PROBATE COURT OF FRANKLIN COUNTY, OHIO
JEFFREY D. MACKEY, JUDGE
 
In the Matter of                                                    :
COVID-19 Public Health Emergency            :           Case No. 603535
and Court Operations                                        :
 
Journal Entry and Court Order Providing Limited Access to the Court
During the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis

 The Judge of the Franklin County Probate Court makes the following Findings of Fact:
  1. On March 9, 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine issued Executive Order 2020-01D declaring a state of emergency in response to the growing COVID-19 public health crisis.
  2. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 to be a global “pandemic” requiring “urgent and aggressive action” to control the spread of the virus.
  3. On March 13, 2020, this court closed to the public. Since that time, the court has allowed limited access to the 22nd and 23rd floors of 373 S. High Street.
  4. The court has issued a series of court orders setting forth COVID-19 protocols for court operations. On June 14, 2021, the court issued a Journal Entry and Court Order Setting Deadline for Orders Issued in this Matter, which extended certain orders through December 31, 2021; the remaining orders terminate June 30, 2021.
  5. The Franklin County, City of Columbus, and State of Ohio Departments of Health and the CDC recommend continued precautions against the spread of COVID-19.
  6. The General Division of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, the Domestic Relations and Juvenile Branch of the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, and the Franklin County Municipal Court have all issued orders placing limitations on public access to their courts.
  7. Many members of the public having business before the court remain unvaccinated.
Based upon these Findings of Fact, the Franklin County Probate Court has developed protocols intended to protect public health, maintain essential court functions, and continue to protect the rights of all individuals subject to the authority of the court, while providing limited public access to the court.

THEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED:
  1. Portions of the court on the 22nd and 23rd floors of 373 S. High Street will remain open to the public. Effective July 6, 2021, public access shall increase as follows: on the 22nd floor, the public shall have access to the reception/information desk, the file room counter, and the cashier counter; on the 23rd floor, the public shall have access to the marriage department.
  2. Access to individual offices or clerk work areas shall be restricted to court employees to maintain the safety of the public and court employees in compliance with county, state, and federal guidelines
  3. Members of the public shall continue to be able to drop off all filings in the lobby of 373 S. High Street or at the reception/information desk on the 22nd floor. Filings will be returned via mail or via the pick-up baskets on the 22nd floor.
  4. The court will continue to conduct hearings via remote videoconferencing when possible, consistent with the June 25, 2020 Covid-19 Court Order Regarding Remote Hearings, which has been extended through December 31, 2021.
  5. For hearings conducted in person, only individuals essential for the hearing should be present in the court. Additionally, for marriage license appointments, only the applicants should be present. Courtroom A and the marriage department shall each be limited to a maximum of 15 people (including court staff and/or interpreters).
  6. Any unvaccinated individual entering the court is required to wear a protective mask, covering the nose and mouth unless a medically documented reason prevents the person from covering their face. N95 medical masks are not required; cloth masks that have been purchased or are homemade are acceptable. The protective covering shall be worn at all times while the unvaccinated individual is on the 22nd floor, or inside the marriage department on the 23rd floor. Individuals are encouraged to bring their own facial covering; however, the court will provide a mask if a person does not have access to their own facial covering. Persons refusing to wear a face covering, except in instances of a medically documented waiver, may be subject to removal from the court.
  7. All unvaccinated court employees are required to wear masks in communal spaces, including but not limited to hallways, breakrooms, meeting rooms, restrooms, etc. Masks are not required when working alone in an assigned work area.
  8. Fully vaccinated court employees or members of the public are encouraged but not required to wear masks. Full vaccination means that fourteen days have passed since the individual received the second shot of a two-dose vaccine or one shot of a single-dose vaccine. Any individual not wearing a mask may be asked to provide proof of vaccination.
  9. Regardless of vaccination status, an individual exhibiting signs of respiratory illness, such as coughing, sneezing, or congestion, may be asked to wear a mask.  
  10. Any court employee may request other employees or members of the public wear masks to enter their office or work area. All court employee meetings or gatherings will be limited to ten individuals or fewer.
  11. All court employees are required to follow court policy informed by Columbus Public Health guidance around disinfecting workspaces, self-wellness checks, and COVID testing when symptoms are present. When available the court will provide home test kits obtained from the Franklin County Public Health Department or Public Facilities Management.
  12. All individuals in the court shall adhere to the 6-foot social distancing protocols.
The above-listed court orders shall remain in effect through December 31, 2021, unless earlier modified by a subsequent court order.  During the month of December, the court will review the public health circumstances to determine whether an extension of the orders is appropriate.
It is so Ordered.

July 2, 2021 Covid-19 Court Order Regarding Public Access to the Court

June 14, 2021 Covid-19 Court Order Allowing Certain Orders to Expire and Setting December 31, 2021 Deadline for Specified Orders Issued in this Matter.pdf

March 26, 2021 Covid-19 Order Setting June 30, 2021 Deadline for Orders Issued in this Matter

December 21, 2020 Covid-19 Court Order Twenty-Four Hour Holding Period for Paper Filings, Deemed Filed One Day Prior

December 21, 2020 Covid-19 Court Order Setting March 31, 2021 Deadline for Orders Issued in this Matter

July 21, 2020 Covid-19 Court Order Setting Deadline for Orders Issued in this Matter

June 25, 2020 Covid-19 Court Order Regarding Remote Hearings

June 15, 2020 Covid-19 Court Order Temporary Procedures for Home Visits by Probate Court Assessors

June 15, 2020 Covid-19 Court Order Certain Post-Placements to Occur Via Videoconferencing

May 20, 2020 Covid-19 Amended Court Order Marriage Licenses

May 6, 2020 Covid-19 Court Order Temporarily Allowing Personal Appearances and Credit Card Payments via Remote Video

April 24, 2020 Covid-19 Court Order Uncontested Video Conference Adoption Hearings

April 15, 2020 Covid-19 Court Order Interim Approvals - Accounts
 
April 15, 2020 Covid-19 Court Order Interim Approvals - Inventories

March 25, 2020 Covid-19 Court Order Temporarily Waiving Original Signatures

Frequently Asked Questions About Court Operations